The wine-growing area of Saint-Emilion, 40 km (25 miles) to the east of Bordeaux, is made up of the following appellation areas: Saint-Emilion, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, Lussac-Saint-Emilion and Puisseguin-Saint-Emilion.The vineyards stretch over an area of 7,836 hectares (19,362 acres) and boast an average yearly production of 35.3 million litres.From whichever direction they come, first-time visitors to the region are struck by the diversity and beauty of the countryside. Should they approach from the south, they notice from far away the medieval town of Saint Emilion perched on the bejewelled edge of the plateau. If they approach from the north, charming winding roads lead them through the picturesque villages of Lussac and Puisseguin. Wherever they may look, river terraces and promontories provide superb viewpoints over an ocean of vines punctuated by houses, châteaux or wooded coppices.In addition to this rich diversity of landscapes there is also an exceptional wealth of heritage sites: Gallo-Roman vestiges, Romanesque churches, and the medieval town of Saint-Emilion that wine-lovers can discover in between visits to wine cellars.Today the Saint-Emilion area is one of the most popular sites in France. It contains a rich variety of architectural features: Romanesque chateaux and churches, windmills and pigeon lofts or mysterious caves.
WHAT IS THE SAINT-EMILION JURADE?
The Jurade dates back to 8th July 1199, when the Falaise Charter was signed by John Lackland, King of England and son of Eleanor of Aquitaine. Aquitaine at that time belonged to the English by Eleanor’s marriage with Henry Plantagenet, who was to become King Henry II. The Charter confirmed the legal, administrative and economic powers endowed in the people of Saint-Emilion by John’s predecessor and brother, Richard the Lionheart. In 1289, under the reign of Edward I, these powers were extended to the communes within the Saint-Emilion Jurisdiction (practically covering the present area occupied by the Saint-Emilion and Saint-Emilion Grand Cru appellations).The Saint-Emilion Jurade members (“Jurats”) were responsible for the internal affairs of the Jurisdiction. They controlled and directed internal administration, justice and everything that concerned policing their territory.With regard to winegrowing, the role of the Jurade was primordial. It monitored the production and refining of “fine” wines, held the “vintner’s brand” that was scorched on every barrel, performed the “Harvest Proclamation”, punished wrongdoing and fraud and destroyed wine which was considered to be unworthy.All these measures that were in force up to the Revolution, ensured the prosperity and fabulous reputation of Saint-Emilion, proclaimed "King of Wines" in England and “Nectar of Gods" by Louis XIV
THE JURADE TODAY Revived in 1948, the present Jurade is inspired by the powers and responsibilities it acquired over the centuries.Every year, it performs the “Harvest Proclamation” on the third Sunday of September. It organises tastings, receptions and induction ceremonies everywhere, promoting the reputation of Saint-Emilion wines throughout the world.Several chancelleries have been created out of France : in London and York in England, in Flanders and in Wallonia for Belgium, in Texas for the north American continent.
THE CHARACTER OF SAINT-EMILION WINESA vivid scarlet robe, a palette of the most subtle aromas, well-balanced and generous on the palate, these are some of the main characteristics of Saint-Emilion wines. However, remember that Saint-Emilion, Lussac Saint-Emilion and Puisseguin Saint-Emilion have many wines. Different estates and vintages produce wines with their own personality; the enjoyment is getting to know them all.
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