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The Bordeaux vineyards are divided among 53 appellations controlees in several tiers. Most of the Gironde dipartement, except the western, sandy Landes district, is entitled to grow AOC Bordeaux. Bordeaux Superieur is the same but has slightly more alcohol.
Within this area are four main groups of appellations. On the west, or Left Bank of the Gironde and Garonne rivers are the Medoc and Graves-Sauternes groups. To the east, on the Right Bank of the Gironde and Dordogne rivers is the Libournais, the St-Emilion/Pomerol region. Between the two rivers is the fourth and least important, group: Entre Deux-Mers.
The main groups, such as Medoc, have inner appellations: examples are Margaux and St-Julien. These are communes, or parts of communes, and have higher standards than ordinary Medoc. Haut-Medoc is the southern and better half of the Medoc.
Most Bordeaux wine is sold under a chateau label. Its legal status is the AOC of the commune, but its brand-name, or identity, is the name of the chateau. Thus Chateau Lafite is AOC Pauillac, Chateau Pavie is AOC St-Emilion.

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