Here is more or less what one hears in the medieval streets of the famous village, on the nights when the rumor mill works at full speed:
- Allegedly, Angélus and Pavie move from “classé B” to “classé A”, joining the top of the appellation alongside Ausone and Cheval-Blanc. If you listen carefully, you will hear that the “classes A” are only half-pleased; they are a historic channel that views newbies with some irritation. Apparently some are threatening to leave the classification, as Latour did with the “primeurs”: those who, head in the sky, want to distinguish themselves from the plebians are often tempted by playing solo. Of course, I don’t believe a word of it. This is pure gossip. Other, really malicious, rumors circulate; I will spare you the details.
- Allegedly, Jean-Luc Thunevin has been granted the honor of “Grand Cru Classé” for his Chateau Valandraud. But wonder-boy has other ambitions. He requested to be classified directly as A. This was refused. He appealed. He is obviously always in a hurry. And why not? If price is a guarantee of quality and exclusivity, Valandraud has been the Gold cardholder for a long time. So, yes: “classé A”. So be it.
- Allegedly, Chateau Faugères, from Silvio Denz, goes up one step from “Grand Cru” to “Grand Cru Classé”. Well done, he deserves it.
- Allegedly, since we speak of merit, Bernard Magrez and his Fombruge also deserve to be amongst the “Grand Crus Classés”; I hear this is done.
- Allegedly, the same goes for Grand-Corbin-Despagne et Lamarzelle, formerly declassified.
- Allegedly, Chateau Destieux sees its wine granted the “Grand Cru Classé”. This is normal, they even won the Cup of “Grands Crus Classés” at a local fair in Hong Kong.
- Allegedly, there is a possibility that Bellevue, Hubert de Boüard’s recent acquisition, will also become a “Grand Cru Classé”.
We could go on with this rumor mill for quite a while, to the risk of boring our readers. We won't. We will say, however, that that there is at least one establishment that specializes in nasty gossip in Saint-Émilion. Old resentments can ruin digestion, even for pleasant guys.
The pictures: Gérard Perse (Pavie) and Hubert de Boüard (Angélus) photographed by Mathieu Garçon.
With thanks and respectful regards to Marilyn Johnson.