Wine Searcher

  Not far from these marvels are the Tour du Roy, the collegiate church, the Cardinal's Palace, the Great Wall, the Cordeliers' convent, the ramparts, the moat, and the old wall which surrounds the city.

It was Edward I, King of England, who defined the jurisdiction of Saint-Émilion in letters of patent given at Condat in 1289. Vie divided it into nine parishes which today cover the following eight communes: Saint-Émilion, Saint-Étienne-de-Lisse, Saint-Christophe-des-Bardes, Saint-SuIpice-des-Faleyrens, Saint-Laurent-des-Combes, Saint-Pey-d’Armens, Saint-Hippolyte, and Vignonet. More than 800 crus within these eight communes are entitled to either the Saint-Émilion or the Saint-Émilion Grand Cru AOC. The production criteria for the second are much stricter than for the first.

Chateau Cheval Blanc Saint-Emilion WineThe terms Grand Cru Classé and Premier Grand Cru Classé are reserved for wines that have been officially classified (in this region, classification is subject to revision every ten years) and that meet the production requirements of the Saint-Émilion Grand Cru AOC. Louis XIV compared Saint-Émilion wines to the nectar of the gods. Despite the region’s complex variety of soils, the wines fall into three or four categories, with classified growths in the first three.

     Those produced on the hillsides are rich and require aging; in this group are Chateaux Ausone, Bélair, Beau Séjour Bécot, and La Couspaude.

     Those produced in the north-west part of the region, an area of gravel mixed with sand, are a little less rich, but their nose is lighter and finer, recalling that of the nearby region of Pomerol. Among these are Cheval- Blanc and Figeac.

     Those of the southern-exposed lower slopes and the clay-sand terraces are a little less rich and lighter, but with a developed nose. One of many in this group is Chateau Larmande.

     Those produced on the newer sandy terraces sloping down towards the plains of the Dordogne are silky, smooth, and perfumed, and can be appreciated in their youth. Most are entitled to the Saint-Émilion AOC, while a few particularly well-placed vineyards produce wine of high enough quality regularly to obtain the title Saint-Émilion Grand Cru.

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