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Welcome to the 2016 Grands Crus Classes of Saint Emilion

Welcome to the 2016 Grands Crus Classes of Saint Emilion

Louis XIV paid tribute to the wines of Saint Emilion – declaring “Saint Emilion, nectar of the gods.”

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Separate. Better?

Saint Emilion Grand Crus wines were not included in the original 1855 Bordeaux classification so The Association de Grands Crus Classes de Saint Emilion was formed in 1982 to promote the quality and excellence of the wines in this region. Currently there are 49 Chateaux in the group representing a total production area of approximately 800 ha and 85 percent of the Grands Crus Classes vineyards.

These vineyards represent the finest expression of Merlot dominant wines grown on rich, diverse soils located along a limestone plateau and down rolling hills surrounding the medieval town of Saint Emilion, a UNESCO World Heritage site.


The Syndicat Viticole planning for the classification of Saint Emilion started in 1930; however, it was not until October 1954 that the standards forming the foundation of the classification were official and the French National Institute of Appellations (INAO) agreed to take on the responsibility for handling the classification. The original list included 12 Premier Grands crus and 63 Grand crus.

The Saint Emilion list is updated every 10 years, unlike the Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855 covering the wines from the Medoc and Graves regions. The most recent update for St. Emilion was 2006 – but it was declared invalid and the 1996 version of the classification was reinstated for the vintages of 2006 to 2009.

The 2006 classification of Saint Emilion wine was rejected because 15 Premiers Grands crus and 46 Grands crus were challenged by 4 dissatisfied producers – they had been demoted; the result – the 2006 was declassified and the 1996 classification was reinstated. The foundation for the dispute was based on the fact that several members of the panel involved in assessing the wines had vested interests (i.e., négociants had business dealings with a few of the chateaux), and were suspected of not being impartial. Read the full article at wines.travel.