Leaving the classification of Crus of Saint-Emilion, Ausone and Cheval Blanc give an electric shock in the small middle of the great vintages of the right bank of Bordeaux.
The closing of the Saint-Emilion classification applications took place on June 30 and two leading domains did not return their copy: Château Ausone, owned by the Vauthier family and Château Cheval Blanc, a nugget of the LVMH group. Since 1954, the date of the first classification, Ausone and Cheval Blanc have formed the benchmark duo of this appellation blessed by the gods. And then, a little less than ten years ago, the proud pair was joined by Angelus and Pavie.
Reaching the rank of Grand Cru Classé À is to gain a foothold on the right bank Olympus. Incidentally, it’s seeing the price of its bottles soar to the sky.
But the last ten-year ranking had made people cringe. The criteria gave pride of place to the quality of the wine, of course, evaluated during very serious tasting sessions, but also to the capacity of the estates to receive visitors and other less oenological criteria, for a form of consecration of the wine. vineyard marketing.
The new ranking which will be revealed in 2022 has changed little compared to the previous one. The reputation of the chateau counts for a large part (35%). It is therefore for properties anxious to reach the top or stay there to make the best wine but also to put on a show. This means appearing in the magazines and newspapers that matter, being seen on television, appearing in films at the cinema, multiplying the number of followers on social networks, being drunk by Hollywood or NBA stars. Which is not at all the type of the Vauthier family. And on the side of Cheval Blanc, at a time of agroforestry and environmental concerns, we are no longer meeting the new criteria.
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Giving up the classification for a Château de Saint-Emilion is a bit like giving up the stars for a great restaurant which considers that the plate is more important than the color of the porter’s jacket. This is to announce that we prefer to focus on viticulture, winemaking and a little less on the HomePage of its website. It also means that it is time to put the church back in the middle of the village and remember that wine is above all a story of grapes cultivated with care on terroirs selected over the centuries.
It also means leaving the game that all of Saint-Emilion has been enjoying for decades. Each classification was a tremendous spotlight that all the owners knew how to take advantage of. But after all, nothing prevents inventing a new classification,
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