Continuing our focus on Bordeaux, this week we have curated a selection from one of our favourite appellations, Saint-Emilion. With a rich and long history of producing very seductive wines, here Bordeaux lovers seek more fruit-forward bottles in comparison to the Medoc and Graves. Its size (there are over 800 producers) means there is truly astonishing value to be found as well as plenty of stylistic variety, whether seeking bold and opulent wines or something a little more elegant and finessed.
This Right Bank appellation is recognised for its prestigious and patchworked terroir of clay and limestone, particularly surrounding the vaunted limestone plateau where the most sought-after wines of the region can be found such Troplong Mondot, Beau-Sejour Becot, and Pavie Macquin to name a few. Unlike the 1855 Classification of Bordeaux’s Left Bank, the wines of St-Emilion are subject to be reclassified every 10 years (a process which we have explained in more depth here), and with the results of the 2022 classification due to be announced in a few weeks’ time, this is a prudent moment to buy smart and look ahead.
Our line-up up this week of some of our favourite estates from St. Emilion will have you spoilt for choice. There is some outstanding value to be found in our Cellar Steals, ones to watch in our Rising Stars, and for those seeking out the most famed stables and iconic names of the region, look no further than our A Classé Apart section.
While St. Emilion may be home to some of the most prestigious names in Bordeaux, its amazing diversity as a region is what makes it so dynamic and exciting — particularly when it comes to seeking out absolute bargains to stock the cellar with. These often include some outstanding stable mates such as Chateau Fonbel and Moulin Saint Georges, both produced under the expert hands of Ausone’s Vauthier family, or super second wines such as Chateau Canon’s Croix or La Gaffeliere’s Clos la Gaffeliere. There is no doubt about it; these wines offer tremendous value from one of the world’s most beloved wine regions.
The Bordeaux spotlight often shines brightest on the most famous Chateaux, leaving lesser-known estates to fly under the consumer radar. Saint-Emilion has a plethora of overlooked gems that may be overshadowed by stalwarts such as Cheval Blanc or Ausone. It is with these lesser known estates, that you can find some truly sensational wines which punch well above their weight.
For those looking for pedigree, look no further than Pavie Decesse (owned by the famed First Growth, Chateau Pavie) or the spectacularly rich, visceral wine Peby Faugeres from Silvio Denz (owner of Lalique and Chateau Faugeres) and winemaker Michel Rolland, which received a whooping 99 points from James Suckling.
If you are seeking serious pleasure without pretension, Chateau Grand Mayne is testament; Jeb Dunnuck notes that this under £26-a-bottle claret is “a beauty and could turn into a real superstar with 3-4 years of bottle age.”