Sauternes lies to the south of Bordeaux city and is made up of a number of different communes such as Barsac (which is its own appellation), Preignac, Bommes, Fargues and Sauternes itself.  All wine produced here is white and virtually all is sweet, influenced to varying degrees by botrytis cinerea, or noble rot.  Here the grapes used are Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and a little Muscadelle.  Yields are tiny compared to further north, with one glass of wine per vine not uncommon whereas one bottle per vine further north is more than common.

The most famous Sauternes wine of all, and one of the world's greatest, is Château d'Yquem.   Other famed wines are Châteaux Rieussec and Suduiraut.