Saint-Emilion Wine Region Summary
The wines of Saint-Emilion have a rich history that spans centuries – indeed, produce from this region on the Right Bank of Bordeaux was already being shipped to England in the 1300s, at the behest of King Edward.
The best terroir in the appellation, itself one of the largest in Bordeaux in area and production, lies on the plateau of Saint-Emilion. Here rich iron deposits, and particularly limestone beds - which have provide insurance against the extremities of the seasons- produce wines of exquisite minerality.
This plateau, also known as the cotes, is home to some of the most desirable estates in Bordeaux, such as chateaux Ausone, Angelus, and Pavie. Closer to the border with Pomerol is the famous Chateau Cheval Blanc, which, more unusually for the Right Bank includes Cabernet Sauvignon in its first wine. Generally though, wines here are based predominantly on Merlot, sometimes with relatively high proportions of Cabernet Franc, and are generally speaking more approachable and softer in their younger years.
Saint-Emilion is unusual in having its own classification, which is the only such system that is regularly reviewed and updated. Premier Grand Cru Classe wines are the equivalent of the First Growths of the 1855 Classification. Within this category there are four Premier Grand Cru Classe A estates, and 15 who may label their produce Premier Grand Cru Classe B.