Panel removes St Emilion ranking

20 April, 2007

Bordeaux's Saint Emilion classification has been suspended after last year's reclassification was slated as flawed.

A tribunal on March 30 upheld the complaints of Château La Tour du Pin Figeac, Château Cadet Bon, Château Guadet and Château de la Marzelle, wh ich were all demoted at the last 10-yearly reclassification of Saint Emilion, announced in September 2006. The tribunal effectively agreed that there were problems with a partisan jury, that the candidatures were not treated equally, and that only seven of the 95 ch âteaux involved were visited in person.

Eric Agostini, the lawyer who had the cru bourgeois classification aned last month, said the decision to annul a second jury-based ranking "throws a terrible suspicion on the Bordeaux classification system as a whole".

In response to the decision, the Saint Emilion Wine Syndicate is launching a counter-claim, saying the judge misunderstood various key aspects of the classification. A well-known château owner said: "It's a crazy decision. The classification has been reworked every 10 years for 60 years. The jury is always known in advance, it is published in the local paper, sent to all the candidates, and everyone signed up to the rules. To complain after the fact is very destructive."

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