France has gained a new classification. Welcome, St. Emilion!

According to Decanter.com, the St Emilion classification has finally been approved by the French government. The official announcement was published in the Journal Officiel on June 16.

Officials have been waiting for approval by the French Ministry of Agriculture since the application was submitted in January 2011.

The next step in the process? Determining which estates will be allowed this prestigious designation. INAO, the French government appellations body, will soon distribute application forms to wineries that wish to be considered.

All chateaux which are applying (apart from those aspiring to the very top ranks, Grand Cru, Grand Cru Classe, and Premier Grand Cru Classé) will be tasted blind to see if the wines merit a designation. Wines will be assessed on taste, their terroir, sales, and their current reputation for consistently high-quality wines.

“I expect there are still some people who will disagree with the results,” Saint Emilion president Jean-Francois Quenin told Decanter.com.

“But INAO has made the process clear, thorough and independent, and all chateaux are fully aware of what is involved before signing up.”

Sedimentality is excited to see what this means for chateaux in the St. Emilion area… and very interested to see what it does to the prices of these wines!