Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Lunch at Place de L’Eglise Monolithe in Saint Emilion and Visits of 3 Châteaux: Tertre Roteboeuf, Figeac and Beausejour

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller having lunch at the Place de L’Eglise Monolithe in Saint Emilion.

Lunch in Saint Emilion

This was just a quick lunch – the plat du jour – on the Place de L’Eglise Monolithe in Saint Emilion. Saint  Emilion is a beautiful, little, ancient village, where we spent some time in preparation of the Bordeaux Weinreise of the Weinfreundeskreis Hochheim, coming up in September 2012. More: Tour de France de Vin: 6 Days, 7 Regions, 3500 km - In 6 Days through 7 Wine Regions of France

Pictures: Saint-Emilion Impressions

The historic town of Saint-Emilion, is right at the center of the main appellation, just a few miles north of the Dordogne river. It is renowned as much for its wine as for its beautiful buildings and scenery.

Plat du Jour

Both my wife and I ate “direct” that means without a starter:

Aujoliere de Poissons aux Petites Legumes

Tajine d’Agneu


The wine, of course was from Saint Emilion.

Chateau Haut-Segottes 2006 Saint Emilion Grand Cru AOC

Saint Emilion Wines and their Classification

Saint Emilion is – with Pomerol – the most important wine region of the Right Bank in Bordeaux. Its wines are Merlot based. The St. Émilion Classification was introduced in 1955, with 3 levels. It is revised about every 10 years. The most recent revision is the one of 2006. There are now: 15 Premier Grand Cru Classé, devided into the 2 classes 'A' and 'B' (with Château Cheval Blanc and Château Ausone the two A’s) and 46 Grand Cru Classé.

Unusually, the St. Emilion 1955 Classification is integrated with the AOC system of St. Emilion, comprising 3 appellations: (1) Appellation St. Emilion Controlee, (2) Appellation St. Emilion Grand Cru Controlee, and (3) Appellation St.Emilion Grand Cru Classee Controlee.

I find the St. Emilion 1955 Classification very misleading. First, over two hundred Saint-Émilion wines carry the description "Grand Cru Controlee", although they are no way at the "Grand Cru", i.e. at the top level. Second, the material difference between the second and the first group, the “Grand Cru" wines and the wines that are just labeled “St. Emilion” is minor. For the non-expert wine consumer, however, is the supposed quality difference between a wine that is a grand cru and wine that is not a grand cru huge. Third, the difference on the label between second and the third group, the "Grand Cru Controlee" and "Grand Cru Classee Controlee", is minor, just the word "Classee", although only the latter 61 wines are the top wines of the 1955 Classification.

See more:  Bordeaux Wines and their Classifications: The Basics

Chateau Tertre Roteboeuf

In September, we will visit Chateau Chateau Tertre Roteboeuf in Saint Emilion.

Pictures Christian G.E. Schiller with Tertre Roteboeuf owner/winemaker Francois Mitjavile

Tertre Roteboeuf and owner/winemaker Francois Mitjavile entered the international wine scene in the mid-80s, when it got excellent ratings by Robert Parker and others. Francois is in no way mainstream. He does not sell his wines through the negociants system, nor has he bothered to apply for the St. Emilion Grand Cru Classe classification.  But the 2010 en primeur is at Euro 150 and the excellent 2005 currently at Euro 240 per bottle. I am looking forward to returning to Chateau Terte Roteboeuf in September. We will also taste the wines of Roc de Cambes in Côtes de Bourg, which is also owned by Francois.

Chateau Figeac

In September, we will also visit Chateau Figeac.

Pictures: At Château Figeac

Château Figeac is in the northwest of the Saint-Émilion appellation, neighboring Château Cheval Blanc. With 40 hectares of vineyards, it is the largest estate in Saint-Émilion. Its grand vin release price for the 2010 vintage was Euro 168 ex-negiciant.

Because of its fine gravel based soil (which is uncommon in the Right Bank), Merlot accounts only for 30 % of the plantings (which is very low by Saint Emilion standards).  The Château Figeac grand vin is dominated (70%) by Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc in equal parts.

Quoting Bordeaux expert Panos Kakaviatos "It is not an accident that some people call Figeac the Medoc of St Emilion…" Chateau Figeac is a Premier Grand Cru Classe B. The 2005 vintage sells for Euro 125 per bottle.

See more:  Château Figeac, Saint-Émilion - A Profile, France

The Saint Emilion Satellites

The four Saint-Emilion satellites are Saint-Georges-Saint-Emilion, Montagne-Saint-Emilion, Puisseguin-Saint-Emilion and Lussac-Saint-Emilion – all located to the north of the village of Saint-Emilion. They are known as satellites because the area's more prestigious wine estates historically resented these supposedly inferior wines using the Saint-Emilion name.

Chateau Beausejour

In September, the group will visit Chateau Beausejour – in Puisseguin- St. Emilion - and also have lunch there with the winemaker/owner Gerad Dupuy. This is insofar a very special visit as Chateau Beausejour is a ”green” winemaker with the wines certified by Ecocert.

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller and  Chateau Beausejour winemaker/owner Gerad Dupuy

Gerard Dupuy is not one of the 150 or so winemakers in Bordeaux, who produce a premium  Bordeaux that sells en primeur for several hundreds or even thousands of Euros per bottle. No, Gerard is one of the other 18.000 winemakers that are not in the limelight and who have to struggle against the competition of wines from all over the world, including the New World. But Gerard’s wines are interesting and special for at least 2 reasons. He produces – like so many others – good value Petite Bordeaux wines and he makes them organically.

See more:  Vin Bio de Bordeaux - At Château Beauséjour in AOC Puisseguin-St.Emilion, France

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1 comment:

  1. Hello, just few comments about the Appelations and classification.
    There are 2 appellations : AOC Saint-Emilion and AOC Saint-Emilion Grand-Cru. Some differences are in the production rules (yield, ageaing, etc)
    The classification was done the first time in 1954 and redone about every 10 years. Lat one, 2006, was denounced and a new process has been created so that a new classification will be anounced this september... For more informations :

    For your group trip in Saint-Emilion I would recommend a guided tour with one of the top guides from the tourist office :