5 wine labels for Saint Emilion? Would you like to understand better?
Today I suggest we talk about wine! not just any wine, Saint-Emilion wines!
Do you ever find yourself confused by the numerous bottles of Saint Emilion wine with different labels? This is because there is one main appellation, Saint Emilion, and four satellite areas that are allowed to add the name of Saint Emilion to their label. Let me break it down for you.
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Today the name of Saint-Emilion is known all over the world ... In reality, the wine appellation which covers 5,400 hectares comes in 2 names for the same delimited wine-growing area (I mean they have exactly the same geographical limits). The wine produced in this area is governed by two different designations, Saint Emilion and Saint Emilion Grand Cru. The latter is produced with more restrictive specifications and production criteria.
In the shade of Saint-Emilion - rather I should say in the North - there are 4 other satellites areas which were granted the right to add Saint-Emilion to their name in 1921 :
- Lussac Saint- Emilion (Nr 11)
- Montagne-Saint-Emilion (Nr 10)
- Puisseguin Saint-Emilion (Nr 12)
- Saint-Georges Saint-Emilion (Nr 9)
© Tourist office of Grand Libournais
The story of the Saint-Emilion satellites
In 1920, two local and rival wine producers unions agreed to have the AOC Saint-Emilion recognized laying on the 8 communes which were part of the old jurisdiction inherited from the Middle Ages.
In the 1920's and 1930's, after several lawsuits set up by the vinegrowers of the neighboring municipalities, this initial delimitation will nevertheless be maintained. In the meantime, some municipalities wronged by the decision, have requested to be able to add the name of Saint-Emilion to their village name. This will be granted to them. I quote:
"by virtue of local, loyal and constant usage of the name of Saint-Emilion
at the condition that the name of the town of origin is attached".
Where are these satellites aeras of Saint Emilion located?
These satellite appellations are located to the northeast of the Saint-Emilion vineyard and are separated by natural borders that can easily be identified on any satellite picture:
- the small stream called Barbanne, which is also the natural border between the neighboring wine making areas of Pomerol and Lalande de Pomerol
- the hills of Castillon to the east
- the plain of the river Dordogne in the south
While these satellite areas may be lesser known, they actually make up almost 4000 hectares of vineyard, which is three-quarters of the main Saint Emilion vineyard.
The terroirs are generally cooler there, which was once considered a disadvantage but which is becoming an advantage in a context of global warming which impacts obviouly the ripening process of the grapes.
The grape varieties - that is to say the varieties of grapes used for the blend (do not forget that we are used to make blended wine here much more than varietal wines!) - is the same as in Saint-Emilion more or less : MERLOT does represent 70%, with CABERNET FRANC (20%) , CABERNET SAUVIGNON and a little bit of MALBEC
So you will have understood it .... here we make red wine!
here we find 220 producers for 1,600 hectares. As one can guess, the terroir is composed of a series of clay hills, as the name of "Montagne" (mount) let you imagine. We talk about a little limestone plateau which is separated from Saint-Emilion by the small river Barbanne
Here, we find 215 producers for 1400 hectares. Mainly clay and limestone soils but we find also blue clays bringing elegant aromas.
is about 100 producers for 750 hectares. North of Saint-Emilion, it is the appellation that will be the most eastern of the so called satellites
Only 185 hectares shared by about twenty producers! This is a small hamlet which is more or less nested in Montagne delimited appellation. This one of the highest terroir of the right bank of Bordeaux, about 90 m altitude which offers an excellent drainge capacity.
Unlike Saint-Emilion which has benefited from a classification since 1954, here no classification in the satellites but full of pretty wine nuggets just waiting for you !
I encourage you to watch this video with some maps and legends to understand better the limits and terroirs. The video is in french but you can easily set the English subtitles I have created.
▶ Specifications of the 4 appellations satellites of St Emilion
▶ website of Saint Emilion wines : https://vins-saint-emilion.com/
▶ Bordeaux wines bureau website(Focus on Lussac) : https://www.bordeaux.com/fr/Notre-Terroir/Le-Libournais/Lussac-Saint-Emilion
▶ Saint Georges Saint Emilion producers website : https://www.saintgeorges-saintemilion.com/
▶ Saint Georges Saint Emilion producers website : http://www.montagnesaintemilion.com
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