Appellation Article

St. Estèphe

Last edited on 9/10/2012 by Jeff Leve
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Read more about St. Estephe and its wines Whereas the first activity recorded in Saint-Estèphe goes back as far as the Middle Bronze Age, the first vines date from the Roman Occupation. But it was the Bordeaux merchants who by aging and selling Saint-Estèphe wines themselves were largely responsible for this appellation's fame. And in the nineteenth century, noted for its prosperity, the great estates of today were created. The movement continues today with the merging of small estates.

A land of great wines, Saint-Estèphe is situated almost in the centre of the Médoc, close to the Gironde Estuary. The appellation is equidistant from Bordeaux and the Pointe de Grave.
The beds of soil are characterized by their remarkable diversity, the result of their undulating relief and excellent drainage. Quartz and well-rounded pebbles mingled with light, sandy surface soil are found everywhere, giving the wines a distinctive finesse. And the subsoil is made up of the famous Saint-Estèphe limestone, which outcrops on the west of the commune.

Thanks to ideal conditions of climate and geology, Saint-Estèphe wines are characterized by their sturdy qualities and robust constitution. Accordingly, they can be laid down for a very long time while yet preserving their youth and freshness. Distinguished by a subsoil which is more clayey than that in the other communal appellations which lie by the river, the wine here attains a distinctive individuality : a very rich tannic structure, a fine deep red colour and an exceptional backbone with aromas of great finesse.

Production conditions (Decree dated September 11, 1936):

In order to have the right to the Saint-Estèphe appellation of controlled origin, red wines must:
- come from the communes of Saint-Estèphe, "excluding any parcels in that area which are situated on recent alluvium and sand on impermeable subsoils",
- satisfy precise production conditions : grape-varieties (Cabernet-Sauvignon, Cabernet-Franc, Carmenère, Merlot Noir, Petit Verdot, Cot or Malbec), minimum of sugar (178 grammes - 6.27 oz. - per litre of must) degree (an acquired 10°5) base yield (45 hectolitres per hectare).