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St-Emilion Classification under suspension

Following the foot steps of cancellation of Cru Bourgeois Re- Classification of 2003, now the 2006 St-Emilion classification has also been temporarily suspended by a tribunal last week. It has expressed serious doubts over the legality of the classification process and felt that some chateaux might have been unfairly discriminated against, reports

The tribunal upheld the complaints of Chateaux La Tour du Pin Figeac, Cadet Bon, Guadet and Marzelle, who were demoted at the last ten-yearly reclassification of Saint Emilion, announced in September 2006.

The partisan jury had only seven of the ninety five chateaux visited in person, agreed the court.

'It is a common sense decision,' said Philippe Thevenin, the lawyer representing the four properties. Three more St-Emilion Grand Cru estates will also challenge the very nature of the classification as established by the INAO.

Thevenin infers that the court's interim decision means that for the time being, no St-Emilion classification exists. The previous ranking of 1996 was valid only till 2006.

The ruling comes a month after a Bordeaux court annulled the 2003 Cru Bourgeois classification for similar reasons. Both cases are similar in that the declassified chateaux questioned the impartiality of the classification jury.

Coming just a few days before the En Primeur tastings of Bordeaux wines, the court ruling is expected to tarnish the image of St. Emilion somewhat. Many people feel that the decision to annul a second jury-based ranking, casts a suspicion on the Bordeaux classification system as a whole. Details at




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