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Style shift in St-Emilion plus 10 wines to seek out

Does a region as highly reputed as St-Emilion need to change? There’s a growing band of producers who seem to think so, as ownerships, technology, climate and consumer tastes shift around them. Here, James Lawther MW reveals the latest developments on Bordeaux’s Right Bank, and picks 10 recent-release wines that illustrate the point.

Something intriguing is happening in St-Emilion. Call it a quiet mutation, but since the latter part of the last decade a stylistic change has become steadily more apparent.

Fruit, freshness and drinkability have become the new mantra, while overripeness, heavy extraction and the imprint of oak are being toned down or even eliminated.

Finesse is what’s required, driven by a desire to rein in excess, promote terroir and advance the demands of a new era.


Scroll down for James Lawther MW’s tasting notes and scores for 10 top picks showing a new St-Emilion wine style


It’s not yet systematic among the region’s 600-odd growers, but there’s plenty of thought and discussion on the topic.

A new generation and certain oenologists are advancing the cause and, now the word of Robert Parker is no longer absolute, there’s greater liberty in the way wines can be made.


Shift in St-Emilion wine style: James Lawther MW’s top 10


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