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Saint Emilion 2012 Classification Threatened

Although the new 2012 Saint Emilion Classification has been a great success it has not been received very well by those who missed out. Most of the chateaux that did not appear on the 2012 list of Grand Cru Classé that had been there in the previous Classification were not actually declassified.

Chateau Magdelaine integrated with Belair-Monage.

Chateau Bergat integrated with Trotte Vielle

Chateau Cadet Piola integrated with Soutard

Chateau Haut Corbin integrated with Grand Corbin

Chateau Matras integrated with Canon

In the wake of the fiasco of the 2006 Saint Emilion Classification certain chateaux were demoted and then reinstated – in 2012 these chateaux have all kept their Grand Cru Classé status, bar two exceptions. Which means that the following chateau have held on to their Classification:

Château Bellevue

Chateau Cadet Bon

Chateau Faurie de Souchard

Chateau Guadet

Chateau La Marzelle

Chateau Petit Faurie de Soutard

Chateau Tertre Daugay (now Quintus)

Chateau Villemaurine

Chateau Yon Figeac

The chateaux that have been demoted are both Chateau La Tour du Pins and Chateau Corbin Michotte and I will cover this in more detail in my blog tomorrow.

However trouble is afoot in the form of objections by Chateau Croque Micotte (once known as Corbin Michotte). Owned by Pierre Carle, Croque Michotte, lies near the Pomerol border with Saint Emilion near Chateau Gazin, Petrus, La Dominique and Cheval Blanc. This is an ancient estate and is thought to date back to 1355, when it was owned by the Black Prince, son of King Edward III. In the early 19th century the estate belonged to the owner of Chateau Figeac and then passed to Chateau La Marzelle in the latter, becoming a separate entity between 1886 – 1891. Croque Michotte is owned by Pierre Carle, descendant of Samuel Geoffrion who purchased the estate in 1906.

It was classified a Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé in the very first Classification of 1953 but lost its status in 1996. This was a tremendous blow for the family. When Croque Michotte was again not included in the contentious 2006 Saint Emilion Classification the Carle family instigated legal action with a group of similarly dissatisfied chateaux owners resulting in the invalidation of the 2006 Classification.

The omission of Croque Michotte from the ranks of Grand Cru Classé in the 2012 Saint Emilion Classification promises a new legal battle. Lucile Carle told La Revue du Vin de France:

“They wanted us to pay for what we did in 2006 and we will not let it happen.”

Pierre Carle has issues with irregularities in the selection process pointing out that the Classification criteria was published in June 2012, more than eight months after the submission of applications and saying that “the commission wrote to us saying that no environmental approach had been made in the property while we are certified organic since 1999!”

The 2012 Saint Emilion Classification has not been confirmed by the Ministers of Finance and Agriculture so if the Carle family were to issue a formal complaint and embark on a legal battle the 2012 Classification could fall to a similar fate as the 2006. However I doubt this would actually happen – its one thing for a single chateau to complain and another if several do. Perhaps Croque Michotte will be reinstated in the next Classification due in 10 year’s time?

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