Named after a monk Emilion, the town of Saint Emilion is located in the southwest of France in the Aquitaine department.
Its history goes back to prehistoric times and is now a World Heritage site. The town is charming with its steep and narrow streets and has Romanesque churches as well as ancient ruins.
As early as the 2nd Century, the Romans planted vineyards in what today is Saint Emilion.
It is interesting to note that the primary grape varieties used in Saint Emilion wines are the Merlot and Cabernet France, along with small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon.
The grapes permitted within the Montagne-Saint-Emilion appellation are Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot is by far the dominant variety. Generally it is partnered with Cabernet Franc, known in the area as 'Bouchet'. Cabernet Sauvignon is much less commonly planted in the cooler soils of the Saint-Emilion area and only produces wine of reliable quality when planted in very specific spots. The prevalence of Merlot (an early flowering variety) means that the appellation is susceptible to spring frosts and can lose the majority of its output in a cold year.
To qualify for the Montagne-Saint-Emilion appellation status, wines must contain a minimum of 11 percent alcohol. Wines made from hybrid vines or vines under three years old do not qualify.
When visiting the Bordeaux area, book a St. Emilion tour with A Paris Travel.