The Saint Emilion PDO (as well as and Saint Emilion Grand Cru PDO) is geographically located east of Bordeaux (around 35 km), in the part of the vineyard called Libournais (Right Bank of the Dordogne). It covers an area of 5,500 Ha, in the cities of Saint-Christophe-des-Bardes, Saint-Etienne-de-Lisse, Saint-Hippolyte, Saint-Laurent-des-Combes, Saint-Pey-d'Armens, Saint-Sulpice-de-Faleyrens-Vignonet, and a part of Libourne (the other being assigned to Pomerol). Saint Emilion is one of the most prestigious PDO, and after having been ignored for the 1855 classification of Medoc wines, this designation created in 1955 its own classification of Saint Emilion Grands Crus (completed in 1958, then re-assessed every 10 years since 1986). The last classification is dated 2012 (following the cancellation of the one of 2006). In 1958, the classification was established as follows: 12 first grand crus classified A (2) and B (10), and 63 classified Grands crus. Since the last classification in 2012 there are now 18 first grand crus classified A (4) and B (14), and 64 Grands crus classified. To complicate things a little bit more, there are now 2 PDOs, Saint Emilion and Saint Emilion Grand Cru, which share the same geographical position, but are distinguished by technical production standards. Indeed, the Saint Emilion Grand Cru PDO must have a limited yield of 40 Hl per hectare and a minimum of 12 months of barrel-aging. Outside the village of Saint Emilion (which is probably the most beautiful wine-growing town in France), this designation has a very large number of small estates (around 8 ha each in average). Its particularities lies in the fact that the Merlot grape very largely dominates the blending of red wines (close to 65% of the total grape varieties grown in the vineyard). Also, the soil typology is rather complex, because four major terroir types can be found in this designation: a limestone plateau emerging around the town of St Emilion, a vast terrace of silico-clay streaking towards Libourne, the coasts and clay-limestone valleys and a sandy-gravelly plain of the Dordogne valley. Thanks to Merlot, the Saint Emilion red wines are more subtle and more opulent than wines mainly made of Cabernet Sauvignon. The other grape varieties used are Cabernet Franc (25%), Cabernet Sauvignon (10%) and on rare occasions Malbec. The great red wines of St Emilion have a solid reputation; they are rich and opulent, smooth and complex in great vintages, have a very good aging potential from 10 to 20 years and even more for some. As part of food and wine pairings they can be served at the table with a duck breast or confit, a Rossini tournedos, a grilled prime rib, seared porcini mushrooms or a cheese like mimolette.
Within the most renowed St Emilion wines, you can find the prestigious Chateau Cheval Blanc or Ausone, as well as the following Chateaux: Angelus, Canon, Figeac, Beausejour Becot, Beausejour Duffau Lagarosse, Belair Monange, Canon La Gaffeliere, Clos Fourtet, La Dominique, Figeac, La Gaffeliere, Larcis Ducasse, Magdelaine, Pavie, Pavie Decesse, Pavie Macquin, Tertre Roteboeuf, Troplong Mondot, Trottevieille, Valandraud, … Some of the best vintages of St Emilion are : 2015, 2014, 2010, 2009, 2005, 2001, 2000, 1998, 1995, 1990, 1989, 1983, 1982, 1964, and 1961. Pavie obtained the outstanding score of 100/100 Parker 4 times in 2010, 2009, 2005, 2000. Cheval Blanc 3 times (2010, 2005, 1947) same for Beausejour Duffau Lagarosse (2010, 2009, 1990) and Ausone (2005, 2003, 2000). Bellevue Mondotte got it twice (2009, 2005). 8 other chateaux obtained the famous 100/100 rating once, especially in recent vintages (2000, 2005, 2009, 2010).
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