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St Emilion chateaux ‘treated like dogs’ over Classification dinner

Chateau Troplong Mondot co-owner Xavier Pariente has said he was bitterly disappointed to be snubbed by an exclusive club of St Emilion premier grands crus.

The Groupement Des Premiers Grands Crus Classes did not invite Pavie Macquin and Troplong Mondot to its bi-annual Vinexpo dinner, the Dîner Millésimes de Collection .

In the latest act in the continuing saga of the St Emilion classification, a law passed on May 13 reinstated the classified status of the two properties.

They were promoted in the hugely controversial 2006 classification, which was scrapped but is now partially reinstated.

They are now allowed to display their premier grand cru status on labels of their 2006 and 2007 bottles.

But the Groupement, which organises tastings and promotes the Crus Classes abroad, excluded both from its traditional lavish Vinexpo dinner, this year held at Château Angélus

The Groupement’s Vinexpo 2007 dinner included the two estates – and the club’s current website lists both of them.

Pariente told decanter.com: ‘We have been treated like dogs. The Groupement showed a total lack of solidarity.’

Groupement president Eric d’Aramon – who has just handed over the presidency to Hubert de Bouard of Angelus – said they made the decision in late March after the French Court of Appeal ruled to scrap the entire 2006 classification.

The exclusion also removed Pavie Macquin and Troplong Mondot from official Groupement tastings during the en primeur campaign in Bordeaux.

‘It has been a yo-yo experience,’ Aramon said at the Vinexpo dinner. ‘By the time they were promoted back, it was too late to re-arrange everything, although we would have liked to,’ he added. ‘We do consider them first growths.’

Also at the Groupement dinner, John Kolasa of Château Canon said that the back and forth of the French courts ‘makes this look very clumsy – these two châteaux should be with us.’

Pavie Macquin owner Nicolas Thienpont struck a conciliatory note.

‘What matters is a sense of union in St. Emilion,’ he told decanter.com during the Fete de la Fleur dinner at Château d’Issan. ‘We just need time for the wounds to heal.’

The St Emilion classification has been fought over in courts in both Paris and Bordeaux since 2006. The current situation maintains the 1996 classification. This status will last until 2011.

Hubert de Bouard of Château Angélus – who has just taken over from Aramon as Groupement president – said a new classification may be determined before 2012.

Written by Panos Kakaviatos

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