About Saint-Emilion Wines
Arguably, the best known Bordeaux wine region in the world, and one of the most scenic. The town of Saint-Emilion is one of the most beautiful, historic and evocative in the region of Bordeaux, far more picturesque than anything that its left Bank neighbour Haut-Medoc can offer, with its Roman history, cobbled streets, and Medieval feel.
It’s a far larger region than the Medoc, and Saint-Emilion covers over 13,000 acres ( compared to Pauillac’s 3000 acres). The soil type is totally different, heavy in clay and chalk and therefore cooler, so less able to ripen the Cabernet Sauvignon grape, so beloved of the Medoc. Therefore here, the early-ripening, easier, Merlot grape is dominant, with cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet franc playing supporting roles, except in one very famous case, Chateau Cheval Blanc, where the fragrant, silky Cabernet Franc grape dominates the blend.
Saint-Emilion is home to some of the very best known and expensive Bordeaux wines in the world, namely Cheval Blanc, Ausone, Figeac and Angelus. There are many more world-worthy top chateaux, but, unfortunately, just like its equally fashionable left bank counterpart, Margaux, the region also houses a number of less – illustrious, less quality driven estates, who are trading on the name and its fashion status.
The wines are Merlot dominant, rich, fleshy, and powerful, yet with an elegant restraint, bursting with velvety, black fruit character and intensity.
In 1954, Saint Emilion, created a new sub-appellation, Grand Cru Saint Emilion, which focuses on the very best wines, from the very best estates, and has stricter production regulations. Unlike the Left Bank classification of 1855, it has taken a major leap forward into modernity, by reviewing the wines, designated within this, on a regular basis, in order to ensure that this elevated and premium appellation truly reflects the very top quality wines that Saint Emilion has to offer.
There are also four ‘satellite’ areas, which offers wines in the same style, but frequently with far better value ( and often real gems in terms of quality); these lie to the north of Saint Emilion and are – Montagne Saint Emilion; Lussac Saint Emilion; Puisseguin Saint Emilion and St Georges Saint Emilion.