«The region is slightly cooler than Saint-Emilion, historically, this has been something of a handicap, but is now an asset in light of the changing climate.»
Cornelis van Leeuwen, Les Saint-Elites, Etude des sols et du régime de température, 2020
Having the feeling that their terroirs remain still too often in the shadow of Saint-Emilion appellation, eight friends winegrowers leading of family wineries, references of the communal appellations of Saint-Emilion, Saint-Georges Saint-Emilion, Montagne Saint-Emilion, Puisseguin Saint-Emilion and Lussac Saint-Emilion, have chosen to found the Saint-Elites.
How is Saint-Elites’ terroir?
Often agreed upon, the answer refers to the creation of PDO and their administrative boundaries. Wanting to demonstrate their belonging to the great terroirs of Saint-Emilion, the Saint-Elites winegrowers commissioned Cornelis van Leeuwen, professor of viticulture and specialist in winegrowing terroirs, to carry out an in-depth scientific study of their terroirs. Inseparable from the vines and from a rigorous selection of grape varieties, the terroir is characterized by 3 major elements: the soil, the climate and the winegrowers.
1. The soil
The Saint-Elites appellations are located towards the northernmost part of the Saint-Emilion PDO, on similar geographical formations. The constituent elements of the Saint-Elites soils help to
explain the quality of their wines, true nuggets from the Saint-Emilionnais appellations.
2. The climate
Cornelis van Leeuwen study about Saint-Elites’ terroir shows that the local appelations of Saint-Emilion are generally a bit cooler than Saint-Emilion and Pomerol appelations.
Historically, those lower temperatures were a handicap since the grape maturity was reached later and could be incomplete in unfavorable years. In a context of global warming, this particularity becomes an advantage because this freshness brings balance and aromatic complexity in wines produced with a dominant Merlot.
3. The winemakers
Facing new challenges, the Saint-Elites winegrowers innovate and adapt. With high standards, precision and patience, each Saint-Elites winemaker works hard to develop wines that express
the greatness of their terroir.
Cornelis van Leeuwen’s study – Les Saint-Elites, Soil and temperature regime survey, 2020- is available upon request, do not hesitate to ask us!