Château Haut-Brion's vineyard is located in the commune of Pessac, just a few miles southwest of Bordeaux's city center. It belongs to the Pessac-Léognan appellation, to the north of the Graves wine-growing region. The terrain at Haut-Brion, formed of two large mounds of a type of gravel known as Günzian because it was deposited during the earliest geologic stage of the Pleistocene epoch, rises between 40 and 50 feet above the beds of the neighboring streams. This gravel consists of small stones, including various kinds of quartz, and it is these precious gems that help to give Château Haut-Brion's wines their distinctive character. This expansive elevated reach of gravelly terrain, bounded at the north by the Le Peugue stream and at the south by the Le Serpent stream, has been called Haut-Brion at least as far back as the early years of the fifteenth century, as evidenced by ancient maps and deeds dating from this period. The sub-soil consists of a mixture of clay and sand. The vineyard covers an area of 53 hectares (about 130 acres). Slightly less than 48 hectares are planted with red grape varieties (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot) and just under 3 hectares are devoted to white grape varieties (Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc). Château Haut-Brion was conceived and laid out beginning in 1525 by Jean de Pontac, which makes it the oldest wine estate in Bordeaux.