Saint-Émilion is a commune in the Gironde department in Aquitaine in southwestern France.
Saint-Émilion's history goes back to prehistoric
times and is a World Heritage site
, with fascinating Romanesque
churches and ruins
stretching all along steep and narrow streets.
The Romans planted vineyards in what was to become Saint-Émilion as early as the 2nd century AD. In the 4th century, the Latin poet Ausonius lauded the fruit of the bountiful vine.
The town was named after the monk Émilion, a travelling confessor, who settled in a hermitage carved into the rock there in the 8th century. It was the monks who followed him that started up the commercial wine production in the area.
Saint-Émilion is located 35 km northeast of Bordeaux
, between Libourne
Saint-Émilion is one of the principal red wine areas of Bordeaux along with the Médoc
. The region is much smaller than the Médoc and adjoins Pomerol. As in Pomerol and the other appellations
on the right bank of the Gironde
, the primary grape varieties used are the Merlot
and Cabernet Franc
, with relatively small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon
also being used by some chateaux.
Saint Émilion wines were not included in the 1855 Bordeaux classification. The first formal classification in Saint-Émilion was made in 1955. Unlike the 1855 classification, it is regularly revised.
Château Ausone and Château Cheval Blanc are the only two wines currently classified as Premiers grands crus classes A (First Great Growths category A). There are then 13 Premiers grands crus classés B and 47 grands crus classés.
In addition, a large number of vineyards are classified as Grand Cru.