St-Emilion's Classification Suspended

Court decided that there was "serious doubt" about its legality.

March 30, 2007

In a shock decision, the administrative tribunal of Bordeaux has suspended the 2006 Saint-Emilion classification. The court decided that there was "serious doubt" about its legality "because the commission that made the classification did not visit every chateau." That meant the commission "discriminated between chateaux."

The case was brought by the four properties who had been demoted in 2006. It follows the decision at the beginning of March by the same court to annul the 2003 classification of crus bourgeois properties in the Médoc. It throws into confusion the whole Bordeaux system of classification.

In 2006, 61 properties were classified crus classes of St-Emilion, 15 of them first growths. Nicolas Thienpont, whose Château Pavie-Macquin was promoted to first growth, said of the decision: "the case was brought by four properties who produce rubbish. Whatever the tribunal decides they will still produce rubbish."

Asked whether the suspension of the classification will affect the price of St-Emilion wines in the Bordeaux futures campaign which starts next week, Thienpont said: "the market goes by the quality of the wine, not its classification."

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