St Emilion

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St-Emilion is a beautiful medieval town with steep hilly cobbled streets running through ancient limestone buildings. The St Emilioncommune produces wines of enormous popular appeal. The district is very large as it includes a number of satellite appellations such as Montagne or Lussac. There are two distinct regions: 'Cotes' St-Emilion contains many of the best Chateaux on the limestone hills around St-Emilion; 'Graves' St-Emilion is situated to the west with a more sand and gravel based soil.

St-Emilion is a large wine producing area, and due to the number of notably good small vineyards, and the diversity of the terrain, there are many different styles. However, on the whole St-Emilion wines are rich, warm wines which have an easier charm to some who are beginning to appreciate Bordeaux wines. They have a high concentration of the Merlot grape which leads to a round, fruity and often alcoholic wine (sometimes 1% stronger than Medoc wines). 'Cotes' St-Emilion are well-coloured, medium bodied perfumed wines yet can show a tannic, powerful complexity. These wines age beautifully, although they can often be drunk earlier than a wine from the Medoc or Graves appellation. 'Graves' St-Emilion is close to the Pomerol appellation and has many of its lush, fruity characteristics. The wines usually have a deep fruitiness and can usually be drunk reasonably young, yet are ageworthy.

'Cotes' St-Emilion covers the slopes from the town of St-Emilion towards the south, and the plateau which surrounds the town. There is a very thin layer of clay and limestone soil over a base of limestone, which are ideal conditions for the Merlot grape, and the Cabernet Franc grape. The Cabernet Sauvignon grape prefers more gravel which helps drainage, and is less used in St-Emilion than in the Medoc. The chalky soil helps ripen the grapes which leads to a stronger, more alcoholic wine. 'Graves' St-Emilion has a much deeper gravelly soil with some clay, sand and iron, without the degree of limestone found in the Cotes region. St-Emilion has a plenitude of Chateau producing extremely enjoyable, good quality wine. There is a wealth of different styles in this appellation, which the wine lover is assured will be a pleasure to discover.

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