St Emilion Classifications

Unlike the 1855 classification of the Médoc, St Emilion's classification is revised and updated ever 10 years or so, with the latest version announced in 2012. Read our blog on the re-classification

Read more about the Bordeaux Classifications in our appellations guide.

Rather than being judged on price, as for the 1855 classification, châteaux have to apply for inclusion and are judged by a tasting of their wines from the previous 10 vintages. The classification groups the best wines into 2 categories: 'Premier Grand Cru Classé' (which is sub-divided into the rather unglamorous tiers, 'A' and 'B'), and the less illustrious 'Grand Cru Classé'.

It is often thought that the term 'Grand Cru' is part of the St Emilion classification, however this is not the case. 'St Emilion Grand Cru' is simply another St Emilion appellation, albeit one that covers the same geographical area. The 600 or so châteaux that use the term on their labels simply have to produce wines with 0.5% more alcohol and a slightly lower yield than basic St Emilion. It would be more accurate if the wines were refered to as 'St Emilion Supérieur' rather than 'Grand Cru'.

St Emilion may boast Bordeaux's most meritocratic and up to date classification, but the names for its various tiers leave a great deal to be desired. The most serious of these is the overly grandiose and frankly misleading use of 'Grand Cru' for wines that are often distinctly ordinary, and barely better than basic appellation wine. This then causes confusion with the normally vastly superior 'Grand Cru Classé' whose name is virtually the same. Less seriously, the marketing men really need to get hold of the 'A' and 'B' sub-categories of Premier Grand Cru Classé as these are clumsy and rarely used.

The first St Emilion classification was drawn up in 1955 by the local 'Syndicat Viticole', exactly a century after the famous Médoc classification that had excluded the region's wines. Amended by decree in 1958, it contained 12 Premier Grand Cru Classés, and 63 Grand Cru Classés. It was updated in 1969, 1985, 1996 and most recently and controversially in 2006.

The furore following the release of the 2006 St Emilion classification was the greatest the region had ever seen, marked by law suits and accusations of bias from four demoted Grand Cru Classé estates. An administrative tribunal in Bordeaux suspended the classification in 2007 which meant that no estate, not even Ausone or Cheval Blanc was able at the time to use their Premier Grand Cru Classé (or whatever) status on the labels for their 2006 wines. Thankfully, the France's highest court brought the farce to an end in November 2007 when it overruled the suspension. In the 2012 Classification; of the four which mounted a legal challenge against their demotions in 2006 - Chateau La Tour du Pin Figeac, Chateau Cadet Bon, Chateau Guadet and Chateau de la Marzelle - only La Tour du Pin Figeac has not been reinstated.

The 2012 revision resulted in 18 Premiers Grands Crus Classés and 64 Grands Crus Classés – 82 in total.

Premiers Grands Crus Classés (B)

  1. Château Beauséjour (héritiers Duffau-Lagarrosse)
  2. Château Beau-Séjour-Bécot
  3. Château Bélair-Monange
  4. Château Canon
  5. Château Canon la Gaffelière*
  6. Château Figeac
  7. Clos Fourtet
  8. Château la Gaffelière
  9. Château Larcis Ducasse*
  10. La Mondotte*
  11. Château Pavie Macquin
  12. Château Troplong Mondot
  13. Château Trottevieille
  14. Château Valandraud*

*2012 promotions

Grands Crus Classés

Château l’Arrosée
Château Balestard la Tonnelle
Château Barde-Haut*
Château Bellefont-Belcier
Château Bellevue
Château Berliquet
Château Cadet-Bon
Château Capdemourlin
Château le Chatelet*
Château Chauvin
Château Clos de Sarpe*
Château la Clotte
Château la Commanderie*
Château Corbin
Château Côte de Baleau*
Château la Couspaude
Château Dassault
Château Destieux
Château la Dominique
Château Faugères*     
Château Faurie de Souchard

*2012 promotions

Château de Ferrand*
Château Fleur Cardinale
Château La Fleur Morange*
Château Fombrauge
Château Fonplégade
Château Fonroque
Château Franc Mayne
Château Grand Corbin
Château Grand Corbin-Despagne
Château Grand Mayne
Château les Grandes Murailles
Château Grand-Pontet
Château Guadet
Château Haut-Sarpe
Clos des Jacobins
Couvent des Jacobins
Château Jean Faure*
Château Laniote
Château Larmande
Château Laroque
Château Laroze
Clos la Madeleine*

Château la Marzelle
Château Monbousquet
Château Moulin du Cadet
Clos de l’Oratoire
Château Pavie Decesse
Château Peby Faugères*
Château Petit Faurie de Soutard
Château de Pressac*
Château le Prieuré
Château Quinault l’Enclos*
Château Ripeau
Château Rochebelle*
Château Saint-Georges-Cote-Pavie
Clos Saint-Martin
Château Sansonnet*
Château la Serre
Château Soutard
Château Tertre Daugay (Quintus)
Château la Tour Figeac
Château Villemaurine
Château Yon-Figeac