Saint-Emilion, Margaux, Pomerol… The Bordeaux vineyard includes many appellations, renowned throughout the world. But behind these prestigious names are also hidden lesser-known appellations where wines are born which have nothing to envy the famous Crus Classés. Let’s head for Libourne, which, in addition to its famous Saint-Emilion and Pomerol appellations, includes other terroirs that are worth a visit!
The satellites of Saint-Emilion: more affordable wines
To the north of the Saint-Emilion region, listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, there are, for example, five villages, known as satellites of Saint-Emilion: Montagne, Lussac, Parsac (which merged with Montagne in the 1970s), Puisseguin and Saint-Georges. Since 1921, they have had the right to add the name of the famous appellation to their names.
Less renowned than their southern counterparts, they produce small treasures that have the advantage of being offered at affordable prices. Less present in the press and less subject to international pressure, they have a certain humility that is appreciated.
The soils (mainly clay-limestone) from which they come are similar to those of Saint-Emilion. The soils also show the same diversity. Slopes, plateaus and lower slopes combine harmoniously. The grape varieties are also identical: Merlot reigns supreme, followed by Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.
However, there is one element that differentiates these satellites from their prestigious neighbours. Situated to the north-east of Saint-Émilion, they have colder terroirs, which in the context of global warming is now turning to their advantage.
And of course the price! Less well known, the properties offer much more reasonable prices than those of Saint-Emilion for wines of great elegance and the same aromatic richness as those of their neighbour. Several estates are worthy of note. For example, Château de Barbe Blanche and Château Lucas in Lussac, or Château Clos de Boüard in the Montagne de Saint-Émilion appellation, a rising star in the region.
The “small” appellations to discover
The vineyards of Libourne also have “small” appellations which are home to estates that are being talked about more and more. Neighbouring Saint-Émilion, the Castillon-Côtes-de-Bordeaux appellation, which extends over 3,000 hectares, is today renowned for several names, such as Clos Puy Arnaud, run biodynamically since 2000 by Thierry Valette, which have earned it its letters of nobility. Generous, the exclusively red wines of Castillon-Côtes de Bordeaux are pleasant from their youth despite their good ageing potential. A real godsend for wine lovers!
Another AOC to (re)discover: the Fronsac appellation. Located west of Libourne, it covers 850 hectares and produces only red wines. Well-structured and balanced, they are distinguished by their notes of red fruits and spices. Don’t hesitate to visit Château de Carles (which in its time welcomed illustrious thinkers such as La Boétie or Montaigne) to taste their nectars which have everything of a great vintage!
Great wine for special occasions.
Translated to English by Daniel Tangerner