St. Emilion Classification Must be Reclassified by INAO


St. Emilion Classification Braces For New Classification.

The most recent St. Emilion classification at best, could be classified as a debacle. By a court decree that was brought about by a handful of disgruntled owners, a new Bordeaux wine classification will take place in 2011.  According to many growers, the changes in the process are positive.  For background, you can read about the current List of current St. Emilion Classifications.

The main difference in the upcoming St. Emilion Bordeaux wine classification is, it is expected to be an independent, arms length process. The INAO, (National institute of origin appellations) will handle the classification.  The work is slated to be handled by a committee of seven judges that are not affiliated with Bordeaux.

The rules state that 10 different vintages will be tasted covering 1999 to 2008. In the case of a chateau that is seeking an upgrade in the classification, from grand cru classé to premier grand cru classé, they might have to provide 15 different vintages to be tasted.  Terroir, technology, and the history and reputation of each property could also be considered. Each property seeking to be classified will be receive inspectors from the INAO. The president of the INAO, Yves Bénard was quoted as saying that the tasting will be no less than 50% of the results.

Part of the outcome from the legal wars now allows a chateau to disagree with their classification without challenging the entire system.  Each property will be required to send in their submissions by the start of 2011.  Due to the higher costs of having an outside party manage the classification, the cost to the properties will probably be increased a lot more than some chateau will like. The cost for the 2006 classification was close to 1,500 Euros.

At this point in time, some owners have still not seen all the rules and regulations for the new classification. St. Emilion is the only major wine region that is reclassified every ten years. It will be interesting to see how this works.  Will the 2006 classification be upheld, or will it change?  The results of the reclassification will be made public in 2012.

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