The dominant grape variety here is the Merlot with some Cabernet Pranc (sometimes known locally as Bouchet), Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec or Cot. The fairly recent classification, which is rigidly enforced and also reviewed every ten years, is interesting, serious, and original. This provides an additional stimulus to keep an eye on quality since it is the wine over a period of a decade that is checked for quality, rather than the terroir or grower. The system of promotion or demotion keeps everyone on their toes and the consumer is therefore the winner. Little needs to be said about the quality of thise French wines. Most StEmilion wine is of outstanding quality. The dark red French wines are accommodating, rounded, and quickly accessible.
Their aromatic palette usually contains ripe fruit (blackberry, cherry, strawberry), dried fruit (apricots), herbs (bay laurel), spices (cinnamon), floral notes (ivy), leather, and earthy touches (wood, humus, and truffle). The better French wines contain the necessary tannin and require several years ageing in the bottle. The structure is broad and supple despite the presence of tannin. A good St-Emilion French wine gives the taster a warm, sensual, and juicy impression which endures in the mouth and the memory. Drinking temperature for this French wine: 14- 16°C (57.2-60.8°F).
ST-EMILION (PREMIER) GRAND CRU CLASSE
The classified (Classe) wines of St-Emilion are perhaps slightly better than the others and usually originate from the better wine-growing soils. Most Crus Classe Frenc wines are concentrated in the direct area around St-Emilion itself and the conditions for their quality, yield, and minimum price are strictly controlled.
Generally this results in slightly more strength, backbone, tannin, and therefore potential for laying down, and clearly greater complexity. Drink this Emilion French wine at 16- 17°C (60.8- 62.6°F).
THE ST-EMILION SATELLITES
North of the main St-Emilion area there are four communes which can append their own name to the appellation of St-Emilion though it is more like borrowing the St-Emilion name for their own purposes.
This French wines from these four communes are generally more rustic and less refined in texture and taste than their compatriots from St-Emilion, but they are certainly worth considering. Furthermore they are attractively priced for their quality. The names for French wines are:
This is a sturdy wine.
This is a full-bodied, sturdy, and rich wine.
This wine is perhaps less elegant than its neighbours.
This is the most gentle wine of the four and perhaps the most feminine but looks can deceive.