Saint-Émilion

Saint-Émilion

The wines of Saint-Émilion are intrinsically linked with the medieval village from which they take their name.  One of the most beautiful corners of the Bordeaux region, Saint-Émilion dates back to Roman times when the Roman poet and consul Ausonius lived in the region (and later gave his name to the top estate, Chateau Ausone).  The name comes from a hermit, Emilian, a Benedictine monk who settled in the village and led to a host of monasteries and convents being created here.   It also helped that Saint-Émilion was on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostella and in those days, wine producing areas were much prized as stopping off points.   Today, Saint-Émilion is a Unesco world heritage site, a much visited and much loved village

The Saint-Émilion appellation is one of the largest in Bordeaux covering 5,565 hectares of vineyards.  This is divided further into a sub-division Saint-Émilion Grand Cru along with four satellite appellations: Lussac-Saint-Émilion, Montagne-Saint-Émilion, Puisseguin-Saint-Émilion and Saint-Georges-Saint-Émilion.  Confusingly, Saint-Émilion Grand Cru is not part of the Saint-Émilion classification; it is a geographical area also.  The 600 or so estates which have the right to use Saint-Émilion Grand Cru, can come from the same area as the Saint-Émilion wines but they have lower yields and higher potential alcohol levels and are therefore considered of higher quality.

The wines made in Saint-Émilion use around 60% Merlot in the blend complemented with Cabernet Franc and small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec.  The region’s terroir can be divided into three different soil types: the limestone plateau, the limestone and clay slopes and hills and the sandy or gravelly flatter land.  In each of the three terroirs, great wine can be made although stylistically very different but it is the limestone plateau with its dark, intense wines with mineral flavours that is considered the heart of the appellation.  As a result of the cold, limestone soils, Saint-Émilion and its satellite appellations are always the last areas to finish harvesting in Bordeaux.  The highest point of the appellation is where L’If and Troplong Mondot stand next to the water tower that can be seen from miles around. 

Saint-Émilion makes a lot of wine – around two and one half million cases a year varying from the great Chateau Ausone to very ordinary generic wines.   It is the only appellation that updates its classification every decade (although this has been fraught with controversy in recent years).   It is regarded as the oldest wine region of Bordeaux and the first to export its wines..

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  1. Château Fonbel
    Saint-Émilion Grand Cru
    0,375l Red
    €8.09 €6.69
    Vibrant and deeply coloured. Juicy and fresh on the nose with crisp acidity and aromas of prunes and damsons. The palate has flavours of red fruit with pretty notes of spice. A good richness and fine soft structure.
  2. Château Fonbel
    Saint-Émilion Grand Cru
    0,375l Red
    €9.15 €7.56
    The unusual blend (60% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 5% Carménère) coupled with an increasingly rigorous selection process give this ‘little’ Saint Emilion, which comes from the same stable as Ausone, an abundance of personality and finesse. It is very inviting and fresh with pretty roundness and well-structured tannins. It makes lovely drinking when young. The unusual blend (60% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 5% Carménère) coupled with an increasingly rigorous selection process give this ‘little’ Saint Emilion, which comes from the same stable as Ausone, an abundance of personality and finesse. It is very inviting and fresh with pretty roundness and well-structured tannins. It makes lovely drinking when young.
  3. Château Béard
    Saint-Émilion Grand Cru
    0,375l Red
    €9.50 €7.85
  4. Château Puy-Blanquet
    Saint-Émilion Grand Cru
    0,375l Red
    €9.60 €7.93
    Located in the commune of Saint-Etienne de Lisse, this lovely vineyard looks out over the Dordogne valley. The wine is generous and fresh with an attractive red fruit character in the nose, good purity and a soft and silky texture. A good wine which can be enjoyed after 2 or 3 years of aging.
  5. Château Béard
    Saint-Émilion Grand Cru
    0,375l Red
    €10.15 €8.39
    Sitting in prime position on the Côtes de Saint-Emilion, made from a blend of Merlot with small quantities of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, this estate, recently acquired by the Cordonnier family, is getting better and better. Vivid crimson red colour with fresh aromas of morello and red cherries and blueberries. Thanks to the nicely ripe fruit, the wine is elegant, supple and easy to drink.
  6. Château Fonbel
    Saint-Émilion Grand Cru
    0,375l Red
    €10.30 €8.51
    This little Saint Emilion cru made by the Vauthier family with 80% Merlot grapes is very pretty and expressive this year. It is an easy drinking wine with attractive red fruit character. Notes of red cherry and plums on the palate, good crunchy acidity, quite firm tannins. This is a very easy wine to like.
  7. Château Fonbel
    Saint-Émilion Grand Cru
    0,375l Red
    €14.65 €12.11
  8. Château Fonbel
    Saint-Émilion Grand Cru
    0,75l Red
    €15.00 €12.40
    Vibrant and deeply coloured. Juicy and fresh on the nose with crisp acidity and aromas of prunes and damsons. The palate has flavours of red fruit with pretty notes of spice. A good richness and fine soft structure.
  9. Château Fonbel
    Saint-Émilion Grand Cru
    0,75l Red
    €17.00 €14.05
    This little Saint Emilion cru made by the Vauthier family with 80% Merlot grapes is very pretty and expressive this year. It is an easy drinking wine with attractive red fruit character. Notes of red cherry and plums on the palate, good crunchy acidity, quite firm tannins. This is a very easy wine to like.
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