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.

  • I recommend reading Vino Business by Isabelle Saporta, a French investigative reporter. Rather than work for the benefit of all in the appellation as they were meant to do, they are benefittng the wealthy to force out the small growers. It is disgusting and St. Emilion leads the way. The growers thought they might win this one but money talks in France and the speediness with which he handed down is decision is an abomination. They have changed the classification rules requiring a chateau appearance and of all things a large parking lot??? What does that have to do with wine. Meanwhile, if a classified growth winery buys adjacent land that is outside the appellation they can still bottle it with their label. So much for all the crap about terroir. As a result I will never buy another classed Bordeaux. Let the Chinese pay the insane prices for inferior wine.