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Small chateaux will suffer if St Emilion classification disappears

Small chateaux stand to lose the most if the latest St Emilion re-classification is annulled, producers say.

The 2006 re-classification was suspended temporarily last week by an administrative tribunal in Bordeaux, citing concerns over conflicts of interest and other inconsistencies. These were brought to the court’s attention by chateaux that were demoted in the 2006 exercise, including Chateau La Tour du Pin Figeac, Chateau Cadet Bon and Chateau de la Marzelle.

‘What is ironic is that those who complained in the first place will suffer most because they will become anonymous without it,’ said Matthieu Cuvelier, son of Clos Fourtet owner Philippe Cuvelier.

Those involved with more prominent properties agree.

‘In fact this annulment will create a deeper gap between the well-known big brands and the lesser-known châteaux,’ a local wine broker told decanter.com. ‘Consumers will turn to the big names like Troplong Mondot, Angélus, Pavie Macquin and others.’.

Even some involved with demoted chateaux are having regrets.

‘We had some concerns about the process but we did not agree with the chateaux that called fo the annulment of the classification itself,’ said Alexandre de Malet Roquefort, a merchant and winemaker, who maintains that only a few châteaux called for the re-classification to be annulled altogether. ‘This is really too bad for everyone.’

De Malet Roquefort suggested that the jury would have been more neutral had it been composed of independent sommeliers, for example.

However Dominique Bécot, part-owner of Chateau Beau-Séjour Bécot – a premier grand cru classé for the last 20 years, which also made the cut in 2006 – said he could imagine St Emilion not being classified at all.

‘Why not?’ he said. ‘It works for Pomerol,’

The St Emilion classification was established in 1954.

Written by Panos Kakaviatos

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