Saint Émilion vineyards are located 35km east of Bordeaux on the 'right bank' of the Dordogne River - where Saint-Émilion is registered as a world heritage site by UNESCO. Saint-Emilion's fame is due to its unique situation and soil to be found in the area.
For several historical reasons before the French revolution in 1789, St-Émilion's land was divided into thousands of plots. Thus, the current average size of the properties of Saint-Emilion do not exceed 7 ha, which is small when compared to the Médoc wine estates being approximately 5 times the size.
Fortunately this historical inheritance turned out to be an advantage when vines were planted around the small town of St-Émilion because of the astonishing diversity of the local soils.

 

St-Émilion is covered with a thick molasse layer of calcareous, sandstones, shales and conglomerates of shallow marine deposits. Saint Emilion is assigned into 5 main areas based on their type of soil: Côte Sud, or South - Graves de Figeac - the West coast - the North coast and the plateau of St-Martin. With the exception of the gravel soils of the Graves de Figeac on which Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon are particularly well adapted. St-Émilion is the home of Merlot, which makes up a dominant portion of the crafted red wines.
The total area of wine-producing is made up of several communes: Saint-Émilion, Saint-Christophe-des-Bardes, Saint-Hippolyte, Saint-Étienne-de-Lisse, Saint-Laurent-des-Combes, Saint-Pey-d’Armens, Saint-Sulpice-de-Faleyrens, Vignonet, and a part of the Libourne commune - all accounting for approximately 6% of the total Bordeaux vineyard area.
Since 1955, there has been a classification of Saint-Émilion wine, and which is updated every 10 years or so (last being in 2012), and consists of the following levels: Premier Grand Cru Classé A, Premier Grand Cru Classé B, and Grand Cru Classé - (18 Premiers Grands Crus Classés and 64 Grands Crus Classés). In 2012 a new classification system was implemented, and currently 4 estates sit at the highest level: Château Angélus, Château Ausone, Château Cheval Blanc and Château Pavie. Previously only Château Ausone and Château Cheval Blanc were at this top level.
During the 1990's, a very surprising and exciting new category of wines appeared: the ‘garagiste’ wines, whose tiny production and extremely low yields result in highly fruit driven, rich, concentrated and perfectly extracted wines. The most famous ‘garage wine’ estates in the area are; Valandraud, Mondotte and Le Pin.
St-Émilion's Merlot dominated wines are often less austere than their cousins of the Médoc region. They Saint-Emilion wines are fully rich, velvety, fruit driven, powerful and elegant. After 10-15 years of ageing, the wines of Saint-Émilion tend to gain complexity from their initial aromas by integrating rich leather, earth and spicy flavours - enjoy.