St. Emilion’s ho hum classification

chateau figeac

The new, vintage 2012, St. Emilion classification was handed down from Paris last week. About the most unusual thing about it is that INAO actually put the materials on their website (Hooray! Even thought they show an unhealthy taste for pdfs and the media contacts still don’t have email addresses listed.)

There hasn’t been any controversy (though some did wonder what happened to Chateau Magdelaine, which Moueix merged into Bélair-Monange). The last update, in 2006, resulted in legal challenges and a court rendering the whole reordering invalid. Lat week, Chateaus Pavie and Angelus were promoted to the top, top tier, while some other modern-style wines also ascended. (Full list after the jump.) The new classification largely follows the market prices and Parker scores for the wines.

If the authorities wanted to do something bold, they could have promoted the excellent Chateau Figeac. It would have been a posthumous honor for Thierry Manoncourt who apparently always wanted to see the estate as a Premier Grand Cru Classé (A). Also, Parker has had a burr under his saddle about Figeac, giving only two of their wines scores over 90 points and going years without reviewing the wines, which are almost always under 13.5% alcohol. And forget quality, the last time around, Figeac was not promoted to the top, top tier because their prices were not high enough!)

Or the INAO could have classified vineyards instead of simply the chateaus themselves but that would be crazy talk! (On related note, Valandraud, which was promoted to the second tier, has expanded its modest vineyard holdings by a factor of 20 over the years.)

By rewarding many wineries that already receive high Parker scores and/or high prices, the classification is of little, stand-alone use to consumers and gives some producers the opportunity to raise prices further.

Related: “How Angelus became James Bond’s choice

Premiers Grands Crus Classés:
Château Angélus (A)
Château Ausone (A)
Château Cheval Blanc (A)
Château Pavie (A)

Château Beausejour (Héritiers Duffau-Lagarrosse)
Château Beau-Sejour Bécot
Château Belair-Monange
Château Canon
Château Canon La Gaffelière
Château Figeac
Clos Fourtet
Château La Gaffelière
Château Larcis Ducasse
La Mondotte
Château Pavie Macquin
Château Troplong Mondot
Château Trottevieille
Château Valandraud

Grands Crus Classés:
Château L’Arrosée
Château Balestard La Tonnelle
Château Barde-Haut
Château Bellefont-Belcier
Château Bellevue
Château Berliquet
Château Cadet-Bon
Château Cap de Mourlin
Château Le Chatelet
Château Chauvin
Château Clos de Sarpe
Château La Clotte
Château La Commanderie
Château Corbin
Château Côte de Baleau
Château La Couspaude
Château Dassault
Château Destieux
Château La Dominique
Château Faugeres
Château Faurie de Souchard
Château de Ferrand
Château Fleur Cardinale
Château La Fleur Morange
Château Fombrauge
Château Fonplegade
Château Fonroque
Château Franc Mayne
Château Grand Corbin
Château Grand Corbin-Despagne
Château Grand Mayne
Château Les Grandes Murailles
Château Grand-Pontet
Château Guadet
Château Haut-Sarpe
Clos des Jacobins
Couvent des Jacobins
Château Jean Faure
Château Laniote
Château Larmande
Château Laroque
Château Laroze
Clos La Madeleine
Château La Marzelle
Château Monbousquet
Château Moulin Du Cadet
Clos de l’Oratoire
Château Pavie Decesse
Château Peby Faugères
Château Petit Faurie de Soutard
Château de Pressac
Château Le Prieuré
Château Quinault l’Enclos
Château Ripeau
Château Rochebelle
Château Saint-Georges-Cote-Pavie
Clos Saint-Martin
Château Sansonnet
Château La Serre
Château Soutard
Château Tertre Daugay
Château La Tour Figeac
Château Villemaurine
Château Yon-Figeac

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8 Responses to “St. Emilion’s ho hum classification”


  1. thanks for the update


  2. I have a 2005 Chateau Angelus. Is 2013 too early to drink it? Wally’s (in L.A.) was selling it a year ago for $137.00, (not where I bought it unfortunately) and Wally’s is having a Tent Sale starting Friday. Worth checking out.


  3. […] authorities wanted to do something bold, they could have promoted the excellent Chateau Figeac.” So contends Dr. Vino in a commentary on the reclassification of St. Emilion. (As regular readers may remember, I wrote […]


  4. why ho hum?
    The fact that not much changed might just reflect that the last classification pretty much had things right?
    I thought that INAO has gone to some lengths to ensure that the process was transparent on this occasion- maybe their assessment of Figeac was correct. The classification is based on a number of factors but giving a posthumous upgrade sounds quite hollywood, not French!


  5. Robin – Sorry not to reply before the tent sale. Did you pick up any? I find the wine to be slightly too modern for me but there are certainly those who like it.

    Craig – If you look at the documents on the INAO site, there’s one about the methodology. They list four points of evaluation and only one of them involves tasting.

    Have you tasted many of the vintages of Figeac 2000 – 2010 (Not sure what their cutoff was since they didn’t state it)? I’ve tasted seven of those and have found them on the whole to be impressive. Also, while many St. Emilion and Pomerol wines can favor power over elegance, Chateau Figeac has shown remarkable restraint in not pushing either the wine making or the prices (relatively speaking, of course). So it’s not simply a “lifetime achievement” award I was suggesting but rather a crowning achievement for M. Manoncourt, albeit two years after his death. His wines will live on in cellars for a long time.


  6. Also, a piece in Decanter suggests today that legal challenges may be brewing but it seems to be primarily one producer agitating.


  7. […] Last but not least, St. Emilion region in Bordeaux has a new classification – you can read more about it here in Dr. Vino’s blog post. […]


  8. Hi there mates, how is all, and what you want to say concerning this paragraph, in my view its genuinely remarkable in support of me.


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