While we are slowly drifting towards the Bordeaux en Primeur 2015 week, we decided to take you to a tour of the different Bordeaux vineyard appellations. Today, we stop in Saint-Emilion, the first French vineyard listed by the UNESCO.
The UNESCO world Heritage
The Jurisdiction of Saint-Emilion is the first French vineyard to be listed in the UNESCO world heritage. In 1999, when the Saint-Emilion vineyard was listed, the UNESCO explained their decision had been made over two main criterions.
- “ The Jurisdiction of Saint-Emilion is an outstanding example of an historic vineyard landscape that has survived intact and in activity to the present day.
- The intensive cultivation of grapes for wine production in a precisely defined region and the resulting landscape is illustrated in an exceptional way by the historic Jurisdiction of Saint-Emilion.” (Source UNESCO)
Indeed, the Saint-Emilion medieval city and its surrounding vineyards perfectly illustrate the strong cultural impact of wine and vineyard in Bordeaux. A strong relation that goes as far back as the Roman antiquity.
A unique classification
Left out of the famous 1855 classification, the Saint-Emilion wines have managed to trurn this setback into an incredible strength. Indeed, ever since it was left out, the fame of the Saint-Emilion vineyard has never stopped growing. Making today of the Saint-Emilion area one of the world’s most famous vineyard.
After having obtained in 1936 the official Protected Designation of Origin for their wines, the Saint Emilion wine makers quickly understood that they had set up their own wine classification. There were two main reasons to this decision:
- They wanted to create homogeneity and quality within the wines of the vineyard.
- They wanted to give the possibility to consumers to choose their Saint Emilion wines thanks to a classification based on objective criterions.
This important decision led to the creation, in 1955, of the Saint Emilion Classification. An innovative classification that is revised every 10 years. This revision is a challenge for the Châteaux owners as it “forces” them, in order to keep their ranking, to maintain a high wine quality level. A challenge, but also a pleasure…
Thanks to this demanding and innovative classification, the Saint Emilion wines are reputed for their quality all over the world.
One must also admit that the name of some of the appellation most prestigious Chateaux have almost reached myth levels as far as wine amateurs are concerned. Indeed, mentioning Cheval Blanc, Pavie, Ausone, Angélus, Clos Fourtet or Figeac, just to name a few, is often enough to see the wine amateurs eyes glitter.
Prestigious Grands Crus, an innovative classification, a medieval city, the UNESCO world heritage listing. There are many reasons to visit Saint-Emilion, one of the most famous Bordeaux vineyard appellations. So don’t miss out and don’t forget when you are there, to taste all those great Grands Crus.