I wrote a post over a year ago entitled Grand Jury Cru, which described the unfortunate plight of the wineries of St. Emilion in Bordeaux, who at the time had recently been told by a French court that the reclassification of the Chateaux (into Grand Cru, Premiere Cru, etc.) was null and void.
At the time everyone, including myself, believed there would be a political resolution to the issue by the time the current vintage went into bottles. And indeed, the issue yo-yo'ed back and forth several more times as the French bureaucracy and the lobbying bodies tussled over the issue.
Unfortunately, however, the clock finally ran out on July 2nd, 2008, and the appeal failed. The courts ruled with finality that the 2006 reclassification, which shook up the established hierarchy by demoting several Chateaux and promoting a number of others, was invalid.
The implications of this ruling include the fact that many Chateaux cannot legally label their wines now, because those labels contain, in some cases, Cru designations that are null and void.
But wait, this just in!
On Friday, at the request of the INAO (Institut National de l'Orgine et de la Qualité -- the government body responsible for wine regulations) the French government issued an emergency decree that extends the last classification (revised in 1996) for the next three years.
The poor winemakers of St. Emilion must have whiplash by now.
This latest episode of what may prove a modern day Jarndyce and Jarndyce, doesn't really help anyone, as most winemakers concerned will have to re-print their labels, but at least it will allow wines (if properly labeled) to be sold.
Maybe in protest the winemakers should just label all the wines with varietal names.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
What's Holding Wine Back in America Vinography Images: From the Fog The World's First Wine Bar Vinography Unboxed: Week of May 31, 2015 Vinography Images: Sky Drama Secrets of the World's Best Wine Lists Vinography Unboxed: Week of May 24, 2015 Vinography Images: The Happy Canyon Drinking Time Itself: The Champagnes of Anselme Selosse The Great Prosecco Crisis of 2015
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune