Appellation Bordeaux Saint-Emilion
This appellation refers to a wine-producing town in the Libourne district of Bordeaux. The town lies a few kilometres north of the Dordogne and is known for its beautiful buildings, its landscape and its wines. The vineyards of Saint-Emilion produce some of the most expensive and sought-after wines in the world. In this guide, we will review the history of the Bordeaux Saint-Emilion appellation, the terroir and the best wines of the region.
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History and terroir of the Saint-Emilion appellation
The narrow cobbled streets and the Romanesque church of the town of Saint-Emilion bear witness to the town's ancient history. Indeed, the vineyards around this town have existed since Roman times. The village is also a Unesco World Heritage Site and is home to the oldest vineyard in France. Saint-Emilion is divided into 9 communes or parishes. Today, the production of wines in the Saint-Emilion appellation represents 4% of the red wines produced in Bordeaux each year. This is also where you can find wines sold at huge prices such as Châteaux Cheval Blanc, Angélus, Ausone etc. Saint-Emilion also has a Grand Cru appellation. The Saint-Emilion appellation has a terroir made up of plots of clay-limestone, sandy and gravelly soil, plains and gentle slopes. The wine region covers 5565 ha of vineyards. The terroir varies a lot from one property to another in the Saint-Emilion wine estates. The best wines often come from the châteaux on the limestone-rich hills. The dominant grape varieties are Merlot and Cabernet Franc. But other grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Malbec are also used in the production of wines of this appellation.
Our selection of wines about Bordeaux Saint-Emilion appellation
The classification system of Saint-Emilion wines has the same principle as the one of Medoc, Sauternes or Graves, but it has been updated recently in 2012 after its elaboration in 1855. The appellation has 82 AOC Saint-Emilion classified growths (64 Grands crus classés and 18 Premiers grands crus classés).
-Angélus: the 42 ha vineyard of this château produces wines that stand out for their precision, purity, richness, smoothness, density, elegance and balance. As a Premier Cru Classé of Saint-Emilion and recently promoted to Premier Grand Cru Classé A, the reputation of this wine as one of Bordeaux's flagships is well established. On tasting, the wine offers a very deep colour, seductive aromas and stunning flavours. A must have wine in your wine cellar!
-Cheval Blanc: This wine estate operates on 39 hectares. It produces complex and powerful wines with soft and velvety textures. Despite the opulent character of these wines, they are not heavy and have an excellent ageing capacity of up to 5 decades. However, the best vintages just need about 15 to 20 years to express the full potential of their flavours and aromas. This wine goes well with all types of classic meats and Asian or fish dishes. This drink has been featured in many films and TV shows and is one of the most sought after in the world. A must-taste too!
-Ausone: the vineyard area of this chateau perched on the hill on the southern outskirts of the village of Saint-Emilion is only 7.3 hectares. But the estate produces unique wines that are unlike most other wines. Its wines stand out for their rich, full-bodied and concentrated character with ripe tannins and powerful, fruity, floral and crushed stone aromas. These are wines that are meant to age and can be enjoyed at their best after 2 to 5 decades depending on the vintage. They also go well with classic meat and fish dishes.
-Pavie: the new owner of this 37 hectare vineyard has spared no expense in restoring and upgrading it. Gérard Perse's efforts have paid off, as the château is one of the estates that received a promotion in the 2012 Saint-Emilion classification. It went from Premier Grand Cru Classé A alongside Château Angélus. This has increased the price of older vintages. The wines of this château are rich, intense, deeply coloured with flavours of plum, blueberry, chocolate, spice, truffle. They have a mineral feel while guaranteeing enormous ageing capacity.
-Mondotte: this small vineyard of 4.5 ha located on the eastern side of the Saint-Emilion limestone plateau also produces rich, opulent and deep wines with a smooth palate and a powerful and seductive nose. The ageing capacity varies between 15 and 40 years depending on the vintage.
-Belair Monange: The 23.5 ha vineyards of this château are located outside the village of Saint-Emilion. The château also produces exceptional First Growths with a dense ruby colour, a pure refined nose with complex aromas and a long, elegant finish.
-Troplong mondot: this first grand cru classé of Saint-Emilion also produces well-balanced, powerful, rich wines with an intensity of flavour from its 37 ha of vineyards. The wines have good ageing potential.
-Trotte vieille: the 10 ha vineyard of this 1er Grand Cru Classé B produces thick wines with beautiful spicy tones, attractive fruit qualities, a compact mouthfeel and a fairly tannic profile depending on the vintage. Fabulous length accompanies wines that need a few years to open up.
-Gaffelière: this 22 hectare vineyard owned by Leo de Malet Roquefort is classified as a 1er Grand Cru Class B. It produces fruity wines with notes of crushed stones. These are rich, full-bodied, concentrated wines with a round finish and silky tannins.
-Valandraud: The wines of this château, grown on 9 ha of vineyards, have a rich, opulent, pure style associated with ripe fruit, liquorice and chocolate flavours, low acidity and silky tannins. They are much better after 10 to 30 years of ageing.
-Pavis Maquin: This château is classified as a Premier Grand Cru Classé B Saint-Emilion. The 15 hectares of vines on this estate produce wines with good substance and concentration combined with great freshness and dense tannin levels.
-Pavis Decesse: this château on the Saint-Emilion plateau has a 3.5 ha vineyard. It produces rich, sensual, concentrated wines with a touch of minerality. The wines improve from year to year.