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Saint-Emilion Grand Cru. What does it mean?

by | Feb 27, 2015 | General | 0 comments

One of the confusing things about Saint-Emilion is the term Grand Cru.  There are nearly one thousand estates, domaines or chateaux in the large appellation of Saint-Emilion and as long as producers adhere to four criteria they can add the term Grand Cru onto their label.

To qualify for Saint-Emilion Grand Cru:

  • Wines must have a minimum of 11.5% alcohol (as opposed to 11%);
  • yield is no more than 55 hectolitres/hectare (rather than 65);
  • grapes must be picked slightly riper than the basic AOC requirement (measured by must weight);
  • and the wine cannot be released from the estate for an additional 14 months

It must always be remembered that all AOC systems have nothing to do with quality, they are all about typicity and character.  This results in a fairly low bar as Chateaux wines are not judged against each other.

The net result is there is an inference to the consumer that Saint-Emilion Grand Cru will have a certain prestige or quality which is necessarily not the case.  My advice is to do your research or take advice from a knowledgeable reputable wine merchant!

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“Throughout the 17 years I have attended Tim’s wine tasting events, he has continued to deliver his extensive knowledge of wine and wine-making with great charm, and lots of humour, making the evenings not only informative, but also great fun. In the course of an average year, the tastings cover a kaleidoscope of different wine themes – interesting and entertaining for all, novices and experts alike. And the wines taste pretty good too!”

“We have been going to Teddington Wine Society events for a number of years. Tim runs the evenings with bonhomie and humour and wears his considerable knowledge lightly. The evenings are great fun, the wines are always a little bit different and help to expand knowledge and tasting horizons.”

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