St Emilion declassification clarified

25 May, 2007

Question:

What exactly is happening with St Emilion wines? Is it true that they have all

been declassified?

Answer:

Following some complaints about the latest classification of St Emilion - ranking producers in order of their perceived quality - a Bordeaux court has ruled that the classification be suspended indefinitely.

The rankings are reassessed every 10 years and it was the 2006 reclassification which was unfair, according to four of the châteaux whose wines did not make the cut. This does not mean that wines from St Emilion will not be able to describe themselves as such - just that labels and marketing material will not be permitted to mention any cru.

The impact of this could be that famous St Emilion names are forced to sell their wines for less because their status is diminished.

But, on the other hand, some of the lesser wines may benefit from this unexpectedly level playing field and achieve prices that would normally be out of their reach.




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Few things can bring communal pleasure so intimately as wine. Apart from a hot tub, perhaps. Sport can trigger mass jubilation, film gives us shared empathy, but wine has a nigh-unique ability to bestow conviviality among us through a shared bottle – which makes it especially galling that we spend so much time divided over it.

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