Classification of Saint-Émilion - Premiers Grands Crus Classés A

Classification of Saint-Émilion - Premiers Grands Crus Classés A

Exactly 100 years after the 1855 Classification, the Syndicat Viticole and the Institut National des Appellations d'Origine published the first classification of St Emilion. There are two divisions: Premier Grand Cru Classé, which itself is split into A and B, and Grand Cru Classé. Unlike the 1855 classification where market price was the main criteria, Chateaux were graded according to a ten vintage tasting. Significantly, the St Emilion Classification was never intended to be an unchangeable list; the intention was always to allow promotion and relegation according to performance. In theory a wonderfully fair system, in practice it was a can of worms they probably wish they had never opened. Now a well documented legal case, the classification was dragged through the French courts and eventually lost much of its integrity. The system was rife with corruption and the so called arbitrators were found to be interested parties. After the lengthy case, the system looked a bit of a shambles. A tail between the legs retreat to the 1996 classification followed, with the 2006 promotions still standing but none of the relegations taking effect. A compromise that everyone could live with...

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