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The New Classification of Saint Emilion - 7th September 2012
By Tom Gearing (Director) - Cult Wines Ltd -

The New Classification of Saint Emilion:

Angelus and Pavie now Premier Grands Crus Classés A

The classified wines of Saint Emilion are the only ones in the world which submit to a 10 year classification, where the Chateaux can be revised up and down depending on quality. This classification system was first established in 1955.

Following legal disputes over the 2006 classification, brought by chateaux which had lost their status, a renewed classification had been deferred. The system was then brought into disrepute when promoted chateaux were allowed to keep their new status, whilst demoted chateaux in fact remained classified.

The criteria contributing to the final establishment of the grade are:

1) The quality of wines considered by tasting of samples (50 % of the final grade for Grand Cru Classé and 30 % for Premier Grand Cru Classé)
2) The fame and historical importance of the vineyard (20 % of the final grade for Grand Cru Classé and 35 % for Premier Grand Cru Classé)
3) The parcel plan and the homogeneity of the terroir (20 % of the final grade for Grand Cru Classé and 30 % for Premier Grand Cru Classé)
4) The conduct of the vineyard (10 % of the final grade for Grand Cru Classé and 5 % for Premier Grand Cru Classé)

It is not any more about a competition, but about an examination, what entails two major changes.

The major revisal to the classification following the controversy in 2006, is that the emphasis is on the fact it is more an examination than a competition and this is highlighted by two major changes:

1) A property can dispute judicially its non-classification or its degrading, but as an individual case and not a dispute against the classification itself.
2) There is now no limit to the number of properties which can appear in the classification. The final appreciation of a property just has to be superior to 14/20 so that it is a "classified Vineyard " and 16/20 so that it is " First Grand Cru Classé ".


Château Angélus (promoted)
Château Ausone
Château Cheval Blanc
Château Pavie (promoted)


Château Beauséjour
Château Beau-Séjour Bécot
Château Belair-Monange
Château Canon
Château Canon La Gaffelière (promoted)
Château Figeac
Clos Fourtet
Château La Gaffelière
Château Larcis Ducasse (promoted)
La Mondotte (promoted)
Château Pavie Macquin
Château Troplong Mondot
Château Trottevieille
Château Valandraud (promoted)


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

A few other important facts:

  • The members of the committee are appointed by the “INAO” and are not from Bordeaux anymore. They are wine growers of the other wine-producing regions, members of the “INAO”. Mr. Tinlot (president), Mr. Guigal (Rhone Valley), Mr. Brugnon (Champagne), Mr. Drouhin (Burgundy), Mr. Vinet (Muscadet), Mr. Bronzo (Côtes de Provence), and Mr. Faure-Brac (sommelier).

  • The tastings and the examinations of the properties will be outsourced and managed by a certification body, which will hire paid wine tasters.

  • During the previous classifications, the parcel plan of every property must have varied of no more 5 % during the last ten years. For 2012, this notion was softened and will be individually observed. So that a property having grown of 20 % can aspire to the classification.



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