St Emilion Grand Cru Classe ’07 vs ’08

I went to a trade tasting last week for the wines of St. Emilion featuring their Grand Cru Classes. St. Emilion unlike the Left Bank of Bordeaux, which has only ever classified their wines once, back in 1855, re-classifies their wines every 10 years. This in and of itself is quite interesting because there can be no resting on your laurels here. The winemakers can’t afford to be lackadaisical in their approach as they might lose their classification. The next classification of the Right Bank is in 2012. I’ll be watching with interest. The Right Bank, where St. Emilion is located, make wines that are more heavily made up of merlot, some are even 100% merlot although those seem to be in the minority, most having cabernet sauvignon and/or cabernet franc as well as petite verdot in the blend. I find the wines from the Right Bank to be softer in general then the Medoc or Left Bank. The tasting I attended was sponsored by the Association of Grands Crus Classes of St. Emilion and encompassed only the estates that are included in the Grand Cru Classe and Premier Cru Classe. St. Emilion has two appellations, St. Emilion and Saint Emilion Grand Cru, the wines we were the wines we were tasting today, we from St. Emilion Grand Cru and not the wines from St. Emilion. Confusing, eh?  The most important thing you need to remember is that the Grand Cru wines are generally the best of St. Emilion. On hand, we were comparing the 2007 vintage to the 2008. 2007 was a difficult year, lots of rain early in the vintage which encouraged harmful diseases, uneven ripening because of the bad weather and loss of crops were all problems in ’07. The autumn turned out to be nice and sunny and the wines have turned out ripe and balanced. Even though they are young, they’re drinking quite well. One of the gems of the tasting was the Ch. Tour Figeac 07, beautiful, aromatic...

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