A Bordeaux tribunal has ruled that the new St Emilion classification is legal, but opponents promised that it will not be 'the final word' on the matter.

St Emilion dispute latest:

The Administrative Tribunal in Bordeaux overruled objections to the 2012 St Emilion classification brought by Châteaux Croque Michotte, La Tour du Pin Figeac and Corbin Michotte.

The châteaux, which either lost their classification or were not promoted from Grand Cru level, had claimed that there were inconsistencies and procedural errors in the run-up to the new ranking that was ratified by the French government on 29 October 2012.

It is the latest twist in an ongoing dispute. A ruling was returned on 17 December, just nine days after the case was heard. It was originally not expected until in mid-January.

‘Not the final word’

‘We are surprised by the rapidity of the judge’s deliberation,’ said Pierre Carle, of Château Croque Michotte. ‘Clearly our comments were not welcome. This is not the final word on the matter.’

Jean-François Galhaud, president of the Conseil des Vins de St-Emilion, said, ‘I am sorry for the complainants. They are among the great families of St Emilion and I hope one day they will be among the classified estates. I want a united family of winemakers around me.’

Process was legal – judge

In his ruling, Judge Naves, president of the Administrative Tribunal, upheld the legality of the original process and the quality of the work undertaken by the classification committee.

A separate criminal investigation into possible conflicts of interest in the run up to the classification is still ongoing.