The Beauty Of St Emilion Wine

by Leigh Bean

Probably the world's most famous wine region is Bordeaux. In that region, one of the most renowned names is St Emilion wine. The village itself is located to the east of Bordeaux and it is the name of a classification, or Appellation d'Origine Controle(AOC). In other words, only wine within from six particular villages is covered in this area, which has a highly respected name.

Wines from this particular AOC are always red and tend to have a mix of three grapes: merlot, cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon. Merlot is usually the majority grape, with the sauvignon giving the wine that classic Bordeaux taste. Bottles have three levels, which are updated every ten years based on quality and taste of the product. The highest class is Premier Grand Cru classe A, then Premier Grand Cru classe B and finally Grand Cru.

Whatever their classification, wines from this area are of excellent quality. Their prices fit every wallet. This is because it tends to mature quicker than other products from the region.

There are labels for collectors, who are willing to pay top prices. Supermarket shoppers can also find a good quality product to accompany lamb, mushrooms. It also goes perfectly with cheeses such as cantal, comte and Basque sheep's cheese from just down the coast.

These foods go well together with Saint Emilion reds thanks to its oak tones. It is left to ferment in old oak barrels which had previously been used to age whisky. This wood flavour is nowhere near as obvious as in Rioja or Ribiera del Duero. Instead it gives a smooth feeling on the tongue.

Historians believe that grapes were first grown in this area by Roman occupiers. The AOC's climate and position next to the Dordogne river certainly gives a natural advantage. The soil gives great assistance in growing vines. One other element comes into play too. It is what the French call terroir. This term cannot be easily translated into English. It is best explained as the coming together of climate, soil type and nutrients in the soil.

The best way to ensure the wine is perfect is to keep the bottle at between twelve and sixteen degrees Celsius. Old books often suggest room temperature, but we must not forget that today we have central heating and air conditioning. Bottles should be stored on their side, with the product touching its cork a little. This enables enough air to seep in and mature the juice.

It is vital to make sure that no light gets into the storage space and the ambiance in the storage room should not be too dry. That is why so many people in France have cellars, and they fill them up with wine.

With close neighbors, Medoc and Pomerol, St Emilion wine is one of the most flexible in the Bordeaux region. It can go with many types of food and has a wide range of price. Nevertheless, it is extremely unlikely to find a bottle of poor quality.

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