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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!

Are you ever puzzled by the many different labels on bottles of Saint-Emilion wine? You're not alone! This complexity arises because there's one main appellation, Saint-Emilion, and four satellite areas that also bear the Saint-Emilion name. Let’s unravel this mystery together. Let me break it down for you!

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Understanding Saint-Emilion

The name Saint-Emilion is famous worldwide, but did you know the wine appellation covers 5,400 hectares?

Within this area, there are two main designations: Saint-Emilion and Saint-Emilion Grand Cru. While they share the same geographical boundaries, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru is made under stricter production criteria.


Meet the Satellites

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)

 The wine appellations of the right bank of Bordeaux

© 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.

Despite numerous legal challenges in the 1920s and 1930s, the original boundaries remained intact. Neighboring municipalities wanting the Saint-Emilion name, wronged by the decision, have requested to be able to add the prestigious name to their village name. They were eventually allowed to add it to their village names, provided they also included their own town's 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".

 Saint Emilion area detailed map

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

Bird eye view of Saint Emilion landscape (satellite picture)

Though lesser-known, these satellites cover almost 4,000 hectares of vineyardsthree-quarters the size of the main Saint-Emilion vineyard.

Reliefs map of Saint Emilion area


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!


Exploring Each St Emilion Satellite


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

Lussac Saint-Emilion:

Here, we find 215 producers for 1400 hectares. Mainly clay and limestone soils but we find also blue clays bringing elegant aromas.

Puisseguin Saint-Emilion:

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

Saint-Georges Saint-Emilion:

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.


No Classification, But Plenty of Gems

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 :
▶ Bordeaux wines bureau website(Focus on Lussac) :
▶ Saint Georges Saint Emilion producers website :
▶ Saint Georges Saint Emilion producers website :


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