Cerons is an appellation for wines produced in the communes of Cerons, Illats and Podensac, in the south of the Bordeaux wine region. The Cerons appellation is specifically for sweet white wines, made from Muscadelle, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and (less commonly) Sauvignon Gris.
Arguably Bordeaux's least-famous sweet-wine appellation, Cerons is overshadowed by its southern neighbors, Sauternes and Barsac. It simply cannot match the sweetness and flavor concentration achieved in the vineyards of these two high-end zones. This is due to a combination of factors. First, the heavier clay content in the soils here means more-consistent temperatures and thus less chance of the morning mists required for the development of botrytis. Second, the flatter, more homogenous landscape is less able to trap what mist there is, and deprives Cerons' vignerons of the various mesoclimates found around Sauternes. There is a third factor worth mentioning, which is entirely man made: the Cerons appellation laws allow higher yields than those of Sauternes or Barsac, removing any incentive for the local vignerons to strive for quality over quantity in their harvest.
There is an unfortunate irony in Cerons' lack of prestige. The village is named after the Ciron River – the very source of the mists that enable its neighbors to make the finest-quality botrytized wines. The Ciron once flowed directly adjacent to Cerons, but over the past few centuries has changed its course; it now meets the Garonne between Barsac and Preignac, having neatly bisected the Sauternes viticultural area.
As Cerons' sweet wines remain in the shadows, a number of the area's producers are now making dry red and white wines instead of (or alongside) sweet wines. These are sold under the Graves appellation. Most successful are the red wines, made from the classic Bordeaux grapes as set out in the Graves appellation laws: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Carmenere, Malbec and Petit Verdot. The whites are made from the same varieties as the local sweet wines.