New St Emilion classification: surprises but no shocks

New St Emilion classification: surprises but no shocks News Wine News
  • Friday 8 September 2006

The eagerly awaited 2006 St Emilion classification – the first for ten years – has yielded some surprises.

Both Troplong-Mondot and Pavie-Macquin have been promoted to Premier Grand Cru Classé.

Everyone expected Troplong-Mondot’s rise, but Pavie-Macquin was a less expected choice, even though the wine has greatly improved under the management of Nicolas Thienpont.

Ironically, Bellevue, another property that Thienpont manages, with advice from star consultant Stéphane Derenoncourt, has been demoted.

If Gérard Perse was hoping for promotion to the very top band for Pavie, he was to be disappointed, but his consolation prize is promotion for Monbousquet to Grand Cru Classé.

Grand-Corbin-Despagne was demoted to Grand Cru in 1996 but has won back its former status. Jean-Luc Thunevin may have expected his Valandraud, which sells for very high prices, to be promoted, but he was to be disappointed, probably because its terroir is too diverse.

Ripeau was said to be in danger of demotion but has survived. La Marzelle and Villemaurine have lost their classified status, as predicted by many.

A keen British observer of the St Emilion scene noted that no garagiste properties had been promoted. ‘Some of those promoted do extract very fully and make wines in a Parkerised style but overall there’s an interesting balance between ‘traditional’ and ‘American’ styles. And the promotions of estates demoted in 1996 are all fully deserved.’

Tim Hartley, chancellor of the British branch of the Jurade de St Emilion, said, ‘Many critics of the system had said that the new classification would be a one-way ladder up. But they’ve been proved wrong. There are a striking number of demotions.’

Hervé Laviale, owner of Grand Cru Classé Franc-Mayne, finds the changes ‘coherent’.

‘The new classification shows that nobody can take anything for granted. The promotions to Premier Cru are thoroughly justifiable, although few people predicted that Pavie-Macquin would be one of them. But it’s a great terroir and it’s commercially successful.’

Experts point out the many criteria for classification. One requirement is that the iwne is distributed by Bordeaux négociants.

‘Yon Figeac (which has been demoted), for example, was sold directly by the Germain group,’ Laviale said . ‘In addition, the wine was never extraordinary.’

He added, ‘There’s always a political element in all this. The demotion of Tertre Daugay may be a warning shot to the Malet Roquefort family, who also own the Premier Cru La Gaffelière.’

In the world of St Emilion high politics such a move may signal that the panel considers La Gaffelière has not performed at its peak in recent years. In effect it may be saying, ‘Your other property, Tertre Daugay, has been underperforming so we'll demote it. But take care we don’t demote Gaffaliere in 10 years' time.'

THE 2006 CLASSIFICATION

Summary of changes to the Saint-Emilion Wine Classification

CHANGE FROM GRAND CRU CLASSE TO PREMIER GRAND CRU CLASSE B : 2

Château Pavie-Macquin Château Troplong Mondot

CHANGE FROM PREMIER GRAND CRU CLASSE B TO GRAND CRU CLASSE : 0

NEW ENTRANT TO THE GRAND CRU CLASSE CLASSIFICATION : 6

Château Bellefont-Belcier

Château Destieux

Château Fleur Cardinale

Château Grand Corbin

Château Grand Corbin-Despagne

Château Monbousquet

NOT RETAINED IN THE CLASSIFICATION: 11

Château Bellevue

Château Cadet Bon

Château Faurie de Souchard

Château Guadet Saint-Julien

Château La Marzelle

Château La Tour du Pin Figeac (Giraud-

Bélivier)

Château La Tour du Pin Figeac (Moueix)

Château Petit Faurie de Soutard

Château Tertre Daugay

Château Villemaurine

Château Yon Figeac

Comments

•Chateau Curé-Bon-la-Madeleine no longer exists; it has become part of Chateau

Canon.

•Chateau la Clusière no longer exists, it has become part of Chateau Pavie.

•Since the 1997 vintage, Chateau Clos des Jacobins is named Clos des Jacobins.

The 2006 Classification selected 61 crus classés:

•15 Saint-Emilion Premiers Grands Crus Classés,

•46 Saint-Emilion Grands Crus Classés.

CLASSEMENT DES CRUS DE SAINT-EMILION 2006

PREMIERS GRANDS CRUS CLASSÉS

A : Château Ausone Château Cheval Blanc

B : Château Angélus

Château Beauséjour (Duffau-

Lagarrosse)

Château Beau-Séjour-Bécot

Château Belair

Château Canon

Château Figeac

Château La Gaffelière

Château Magdelaine

Château Pavie

Château Pavie-Macquin

Château Troplong-Mondot

Château Trottevieille

Clos Fourtet

GRANDS CRUS CLASSÉS

Château Balestard la Tonnelle

Château Bellefont-Belcier

Château Bergat

Château Berliquet

Château Cadet Piola

Château Canon la Gaffelière

Château Cap de Mourlin

Château Chauvin

Château Corbin

Château Corbin Michotte

Château Dassault

Château Destieux

Château Fleur-Cardinale

Château Fonplégade

Château Fonroque

Château Franc Mayne

Château Grand Corbin

Château Grand Corbin Despagne

Château Grand Mayne

Château Grand Pontet

Château Haut Corbin

Château Haut Sarpe

Château L’Arrosée

Château La Clotte

Château La Couspaude

Château La Dominique

Château La Serre

Château La Tour Figeac

Château Laniote

Château Larcis Ducasse

Château Larmande

Château Laroque

Château Laroze

Château Le Prieuré

Château Les Grandes Murailles

Château Matras

Château Monbousquet

Château Moulin du Cadet

Château Pavie-Decesse

Château Ripeau

Château Saint-Georges-Côte-Pavie

Château Soutard

Clos de l’Oratoire

Clos des Jacobins

Clos Saint-Martin

Couvent des Jacobins

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