After Châteaux Ausone, Cheval-Blanc and Angélus, another historic heavyweight in the appellation is withdrawing from the classification, the new version of which is due to be published in September, ten years after that of 2012.
“We were tasted by amateurs,” said AFP Alexandre de Malet Roquefort, whose family has run this castle for 300 years, which produces 80,000 bottles annually on 22 hectares and was included in the classification of Saint-Emilion since its birth. beginnings in 1955.
At the origin of his dissatisfaction, a summons before the authorities of the classification to explain himself on his terroir and his tastings, poorly rated before the publication of the 2022 prize list.
“Our terroir has not changed since 1955!”, exclaimed Mr. de Malet Roquefort, accusing the tasters of “incompetence” who rated his 2013 vintage, “the worst for 20 years”, better than his great years.
“We didn’t want to defend ourselves,” he added.
“They are wrong because this ranking is a proof of emulation for our appellation”, reacted Jean-François Galhaud, president of the Saint-Emilion Wine Council. “We have around forty tasters. Forty cannot be wrong”, he argued to AFP, defending “the total probity” of the classification for which the INAO (National Institute of Origin and quality).
However, this ranking is increasingly contested, particularly in court, for its selection criteria, accused of giving too much space to “secondary elements” (notoriety, public reception, etc.) to the detriment of “fundamentals”. (terroir, tasting…).
For these reasons, Châteaux Ausone and Cheval-Blanc had already announced last summer that they would not be applying for the next prize list. In January, Château Angélus withdrew its candidacy, three months after the conviction of its owner for illegal taking of interest in the 2012 version of this same classification.
Exporting all over the world, these big prestigious names from Bordeaux are not afraid of being removed from the ranking. “We could sell twice our volume, the brand prevails over all the rankings, it is so strong that we have no concerns from a commercial point of view”, underlines Mr. de Malet Roquefort.