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5 wine labels for Saint Emilion? Would you like to understand better?

Today I suggest we talk about wine! not just any wine,  Saint-Emilion wines!

Have you ever found yourself, puzzled by this plethora of bottles that all bear the name of Saint-Emilion somewhere on the label? So I explain ... it comes from the fact that there is 1 appellation + 4 satellites - So now you know  that there are  5 labels bearing the name of Saint-Emilion. Let me explain all that to you ....

Click to read more ! 

Today the name of Saint-Emilion is known all over the world ... In reality, the wine appellation which covers 5,400 hectares comes in 2 names for the same delimited wine-growing area (I mean they have exactly the same geographical limits):

  • Saint-Emilion
  • and Saint-Emilion Grand Cru with a more restrictive specifications and production criteria for the second one.

In the shade of Saint-Emilion - rather I should say in the North - there are 4 other appellations called "SATELLITES" which have had the right to add Saint-Emilion to their name in 1921  : 

  • Lussac Saint- Emilion (Nr 11)
  • Montagne-Saint-Emilion  (Nr 10)
  • Puisseguin Saint-Emilion  (Nr 12)
  • Saint-Georges Saint-Emilion  (Nr 9)

 The wine appellations of the right bank of Bordeaux

© Tourist office of Grand Libournais

The story of the Saint-Emilion satellites

In 1920, two local and rival wine producers unions agreed to have the AOC Saint-Emilion recognized laying on the 8 communes which were part of the old jurisdiction inherited from the Middle Ages.

In the 1920's and 1930's, after several lawsuits set up by the vinegrowers of the neighboring municipalities, this initial delimitation will nevertheless be maintained. In the meantime, some municipalities wronged by the decision, have requested to be able to add the name of Saint-Emilion to their village name. This will be granted to them. I quote:

"by virtue of local, loyal and constant usage of the name of Saint-Emilion
at the condition that the name of the town of origin is attached".

 Saint Emilion area detailed map

Where are these satellites aeras  of Saint Emilion located?

These satellite appellations are located to the northeast of the Saint-Emilion vineyard and are separated by natural borders that can easily be identified on any satellite picture:

  • the small stream called Barbanne, which is also the natural border between the neighboring wine making areas of Pomerol and Lalande de Pomerol
  • the hills of Castillon to the east
  • the plain of the river Dordogne in the south

Bird eye view of Saint Emilion landscape (satellite picture)

They often remain in the shade of their big sister but I would like to draw your attention to the fact that all their areas of vineyards combined reach almost 4000 hectares: in other words, we talk about the equivalent of 3/4 of the appellation Saint-Emilion!

Reliefs map of Saint Emilion area

 

The terroirs are generally cooler there, which has long been considered as a handicap but which is becoming an advantage in a context of global warming which impacts obviouly the ripening process of the grapes.

The grape varieties - that is to say the varieties of grapes used for the blend (do not forget that we are used to make blended wine here much more than varietal wines!) - is the same as in Saint-Emilion more or less :  MERLOT does represent 70%, with CABERNET FRANC (20%) , CABERNET SAUVIGNON and a little bit of MALBEC

So you will have understood it .... here we make red wine!

👉 Montagne-Saint-Emilion :

here we find  220 producers for 1,600 hectares. As one can guess, the terroir is composed of a series of clay hills, as the name of "Montagne" (mount) let you imagine. We talk about a little limestone plateau which is separated from Saint-Emilion by the small river Barbanne

👉 Lussac Saint-Emilion

Here, we find 215 producers for 1400 hectares. Mainly clay and limestone soils but we find also blue clays bringing elegant aromas.

👉 Puisseguin Saint-Emilion

is about 100 producers for 750 hectares. North of Saint-Emilion, it is the appellation that will be the most eastern of the so called satellites

👉  Saint-Georges Saint-Emilion:

Only 185 hectares shared by about twenty producers! This is a small hamlet which is more or less nested in  Montagne delimited appellation. This one of the highest terroir of the right bank of Bordeaux, about 90 m altitude which offers an excellent drainge capacity.

 

Unlike Saint-Emilion which has benefited from a classification since 1954, here no classification in the satellites but full of pretty wine nuggets just waiting for you ! 

 

I encourage you to watch this videos with some maps and legends to understand better the limits and terroirs. The video is in french but you can easily set the E,nglish subtitles I have created. 

 

SOURCES :
▶ Specifications of the 4 appellations satellites of St Emilion
▶ website of Saint Emilion wines : https://vins-saint-emilion.com/
▶ Bordeaux wines bureau website(Focus on Lussac) : https://www.bordeaux.com/fr/Notre-Terroir/Le-Libournais/Lussac-Saint-Emilion
▶ Saint Georges Saint Emilion producers website : https://www.saintgeorges-saintemilion.com/
▶ Saint Georges Saint Emilion producers website : http://www.montagnesaintemilion.com

 


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