Cérons AOC is an appellation on the left bank of the Bordeaux region for sweet white wine which applies to three Graves AOC communes–Cérons, Illats and Podensac–that abut on to the Barsac AOC region on the north and have a natural tendency to make sweet white wine,’ (Hugh Johnson: Wine Companion: 1991, p.103).
The production zone is located around 30km (19 miles) upstream (south-east) from Bordeaux, on the left bank of the Garonne river, and immediately north of the Barsac AOC. The proximity of the Ciron river creates humid conditions which allow the same development of botrytis cinerea (noble rot) as in the adjacent Sauternais. As the Cérons AOC lies within the larger Graves AOC wineries can use this latter designation for their dry white wines, rosés, and reds. These provide higher yields and easier sales than the sweet white Cérons does, which is not so well-known (or highly priced) compared to the sweet wines of either Barsac or the Sauternes AOC. Hence the production of its flagship sweet wine has declined in favour of dry white and red Graves.
Terroir: Podensac and Cérons face the Garonne river, whilst Illats lies inland between the two. The three conjoin on the Plateau du Moulin à Vent. The sand and starfish limestone base beneath the flinty gravel topsoil here resembles the Plateau d’Haut-Barsac in Barsac to the south. The two leading estates with vines on the Plateau du Moulin à Vent, the Grand Enclos du Château de Cérons and the Château de Cérons, were part of the same domaine until they were split in the mid-19th century. Both estates could argue that their portion of the original estate is superior to the other. However the most gravelled and elevated portion of the Plateau du Moulin à Vent appears to have been covered by the toll gate built for the A62 Bordeaux-Toulouse motorway.
Wine style: Colour: Bright gold. Aromas: yellow flowers, yellow fruits, lemon. Mouthfeel: ‘Sweet, soft, mildly honeyed,’ (Oz Clarke: 2015, p.76). Prices comparatively lower than Barsac and Sauternes means Cérons has there is less leeway to wait for noble rot and to perform costly staggered picking (tries’) and accounts for the Cérons wines being sweet but lacking noticeable ‘pourriture noble’ (Clive Coates MW: 1990, p.93).
Wine production: 2002 1,622hl from 63ha (Guide Hachette 2004, p.402).