The epitome of a beautifully scenic 'wine' village, St Emilion sits on rolling vine-clad hills about an hour’s drive north east of Bordeaux city in the Libourne area, its golden limestone walls, battlements, churches and town houses almost glowing with wealth, history and pedigree. Sweeping away from the hilltop village are the vineyards and Châteaux that surround it on all sides, names such as Ausone, Canon, Figeac and Cheval Blanc lie alongside others of less glamours and price.
The main grapes here are Merlot and Cabernet Franc, as these are more suited to the heavier clay and gravel soils, with small amounts of Carménère and Cabernet Sauvignon. Very little white wine is produced in the Appellation and cannot fall under the St Emilion AOC. The Châteaux of St Emilion tend to be smaller than their Medoc counterparts, with the result that the top wines can command high prices. In style the wines are generally plumper, softer and more fruit-driven than the Cabernet Sauvignon-based Medoc wines, but in good years can age for up to 50 years.