|St-Emilion is a beautiful medieval town with steep hilly cobbled
streets running through ancient limestone buildings. The commune
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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