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Garage wines make play for St Emilion premier league

Jean-Luc Thunevin has entered his three so-called ‘garagiste’ wines to be considered amongst the top growths of St Emilion.

As the date for the reclassification of St Emilion grand cru classés is brought forward to May, Thunevin is looking to get recognition for wines many consider to be the equal of some of the best in the region.

The announcement of the reclassifaction, which happens once every 10 years and is due this year, may be brought forward to ensure new rankings are finalised ahead of June’s VinExpo in Hong Kong.

‘There is a lot of work to be done, and the date is not finalised yet,’ said Astrid Deysine at the Syndicat de St Emilion, ‘but the hope is that the commission will be able to present their findings to INAO at the end of May, instead of September as previously expected.’

Thunevin hopes that Valandraud – the first great ‘vin de garage’ microcuvee – will be given Premier Grand Cru Classé A, Virginie de Valandraut Premier Grand Cru Classé B and Clos Badon Grand Cru Classé.

‘I have created Valandraud over the past 15 years, and I don’t have the history of many St Emilion chateaux. This may be difficult for some people to accept, but I know that I have made a wine that has the quality, the reviews and the market equal to the best,’ he told decanter.com.

He added. ‘Great terroir is being created all the time in Australia, California, Argentina, and right here in St Emilion. All good terroir comes from the men that work it – if there was no drainage in Bordeaux, there’d be no Yquem, no Cheval Blanc, no great wines of the Médoc. Of course no one contests their quality, yet there is a resistance to believing that the same thing can happen now.’

Around 20 new properties have submitted wines to be promoted to Grand Cru Classé – although unconfirmed, these are thought to include Fleur Cardinal and Bellefont Belcier. The commission can also declassify existing chateaux.

Written by Jane Anson

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