France: Bordeaux

Saint Emilion and area

Saint Emilion, its satellites and Côtes de Castillon and Francs
By Jane Anson

This Guide was last updated on 22 March 2010
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Main appellations

Saint Emilion

Basic appellation for red wine produced around the town of the same name. The best vineyards are situated on the steep côtes, and to the west on a gravelly section of the plateau. Saint Emilion has its own classification which is regularly revised every ten years.

Saint Emilion Grand Cru

For red wines only as above. AC Saint Emilion Grand Cru has its own classification which is regularly revised every ten years. The classification is divided into Grand Cru Classé, and Premier Grand Cru Classé, which is further divided into categories A and B. Currently after various legal wrangling the 1996 classification is in place.

Saint Emilion Satellites

Puisseguin-Saint Emilion, Saint-Georges Saint Emilion, Montagne-Saint Emilion (the largest) and Lussac-Saint Emilion produce red wines in the vineyards north and east of the town using the same grapes varieties and winemaking techniques as Saint Emilion, but usually with somewhat less character. Some good bargains to be found here.

Côtes de Castillon

Exclusively for reds. Larger production than Côtes de Francs producing sturdy red wines, more supple wines come from down by the river than higher up the hillside. Usually better than generic Bordeaux. From the 2008 vintage, this will become Côtes de Bordeaux: Castillon.

Côtes de Francs

The only appellation here apart from Bordeaux AC that produces a small quantity of whites, it is however mainly red wine production that is generally of a better quality than Bordeaux AC. From the 2008 vintage, this will become Côtes de Bordeaux: Francs.


Generic appellation for reds, rosés and whites (mostly dry) for the whole region. The only AC that can be used for whites and rosés within the Saint Emilion and Côtes de Castillon ACs. In addition, some reds may on occasions be declassified to this appellation, or of course, if the château owns vineyards outside the communal ACs it will use this appellation for the blend.

Bordeaux Supérieur

Covering the same area as the basic Bordeaux AC but with an extra half degree of alcohol and lower yields.

Crémant de Bordeaux

A very small amount of sparkling wine is made under this appellation. The majority of grapes must be from the main Bordeaux varieties and 100% from the Bordeaux AC area. The Traditional Method (bottle fermentation) is used.

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