The Médoc (French pronunciation: [medɔk]; Gascon: Medòc [meˈðok]) is a region of France, well known as a wine growing region, located in the département of Gironde, on the left bank of the Gironde estuary, north of Bordeaux. Its name comes from (Pagus) Medullicus, or "country of the Medulli", the local Celtic tribe. The region owes its economic success mainly to the production of red wine; it is home to around 1,500 vineyards.
The area also has pine forests and long sandy beaches. The Médoc's geography is not ideal for wine growing, with its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean resulting in a comparatively mild climate and high rainfall making rot a constant problem. It is generally believed that the nature of the region's wine derives from the soil; although the terrain is flat, excellent drainage is a necessity and the increased amount of gravel in the soil allows heat to be retained, encouraging ripening, and extensive root systems.
The wine regions of Bordeaux are a large number of wine growing areas, differing widely in size and sometimes overlapping, which lie within the overarching wine region of Bordeaux, centred on the city of Bordeaux and covering the whole area of the Gironde department of Aquitaine. The Bordeaux region is naturally divided by the Gironde Estuary into a Left Bank area which includes the Médoc and Graves and a Right Bank area which includes the Libournais, Bourg and Blaye. The Médoc is itself divided into Haut-Médoc (the upstream or southern portion) and Bas-Médoc (the downstream or northern portion, often referred to simply as "Médoc"). There are various sub-regions within the Haut-Médoc, including St-Estèphe, Pauillac, St.-Julien and Margaux. Graves includes the sub-regions of Pessac-Léognan and Sauternes (among others), and Sauternes in turn includes the sub-region of Barsac. The Libournais includes the sub-regions of Saint-Émilion and Pomerol (among others). There is an additional wine region of Entre-Deux-Mers, so called because it lies between the Garonne and Dordogne rivers, which combine to form the Gironde.