Inao (National Institute of Origin and Quality), the organization in charge of the classification, “got confused by the mistakes of 10 years ago: this is a classification of companies, not a classification of wines, intended for investors, not consumers.” , given to AFP by Lucille Carl, assistant manager of Croque-Michotte, a castle that has already petitioned unsuccessfully for the 2012 prize list to be canceled before administrative justice.
This prestigious ranking, which can be reviewed every ten years, guarantees significant commercial, financial and media benefits to award-winning castles, but is increasingly being challenged, especially in court, due to selection criteria accused of giving too much space to “minor elements”. “. “(fame, public acceptance…) to the detriment of the “basics” (terroir, tasting…).
For these reasons, several historical heavyweights in the Saint-Emilion appellation: Châteaux Ausone, Cheval-Blanc, Château Angélus and then La Gaffelière have already announced that they will not apply for the next list.
“We have been tasted by amateurs,” Alexandre de Male Roquefort told AFP of Château La Gaffelière, whose family has run the château for 300 years, which produces 80,000 bottles a year on 22 hectares and has been registered in Saint-Émilion since its inception in 1955. .
At the origin of his dissatisfaction is the challenge to the classification authorities to explain himself on his terroir and his tastings, poorly rated before the publication of the 2022 prize list.
“Our terroir hasn’t changed since 1955!” exclaimed M. de Male Roquefort, blaming tasters of “incompetence” who rated his 2013 vintage as “the worst in 20 years” better than his great years. “We didn’t want to defend ourselves,” he added.
Exporting all over the world, these big prestigious names from Bordeaux are not afraid to be excluded from the rankings. “We could sell twice as much, the brand dominates all ratings, it is so strong that we have no problems from a commercial point of view,” stresses Mr. de Male Roquefort.