The fact that the wines of Saint-Émilion are respected all over the planet is in due in no small part to the great job done by the Jurade, whose actions have had a major impact in France and abroad.
As early as 1884, local producers established the first syndicat viticole (winegrowers association) in France. This was just one of many steps taken in Saint-Émilion over the years to enhance the production, promotion, and sale of the town's world-class wines.
The Syndicat Viticole created two appellations: Saint-Émilion and Saint-Émilion Grand Cru. They also instituted a classification enabling wines in the Saint-Émilion Grand Cru appellation to attain status as :
- a Grand Cru Classé,
- Premier Grand Cru Classé
- Premier Grand Cru Classé A. (hightest classification)
This classification adopted and instituted in 1955 by the Union of Wine of Saint-Émilion (which became in 2007 the Wine Council of Saint-Émilion) is re-examined every 10 years and encourages winegrowers to come up to excellence. Its main objective is to guarantee the origin, the quality and authenticity of Saint-Émilion wines.
A wine commission has to oversee the whole ranking procedure. The National Committee of Wines and Brandies designates this commission. It’s composed of 7 people working in the wine-area, outside of the Bordeaux region.
Here are some criteria that are rigorously examined by the commission :
The latest classification developed in 2012 by the INAO (National Institute for Origin and Quality) and the Ministry of Agriculture have listed 82 Chateaux, of which 4 are “Premiers Grands Crus Classés A” :
In 2012, the tasting has been an important part of the final wine ranking.
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