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More troubles with St Emilion classification

There is dissent amongst the ranks in St Emilion as three chateaux have taken two top owners to court over claims they have rigged a new ranking system for their top Grand Crus. The disgruntled chateau owners - who failed to make the grade - argue that, as influential members of the national wine rule body the INAO - which played a key role in the classification process – wine makers Hubert de Boüard and Philippe Castéja were unfairly able to ensure that their own domaines, as well as others that they are paid to advise, maintained their ranking or joined the select club of 82 chateaux.

The ranking was founded in 1954 and is reassesed every 10 years. It consists of three classifications - Premier Grand Cru Classé A, Premier Grand Cru Classé B and Grand Cru Classé. In the 2012 classification, Château Angélus, which Mr de Boüard co-owns, was promoted to Premier Grand Cru Classé A at the top of the wine league table. Meanwhile, the seven estates he is paid to advise were either promoted or kept their ranking.

The disgruntled chateau owners claim that both owners are members of the national committee of INAO and in this position they also had administrative powers and approval over operations in the St Emilion classification. Criminal complaints have been filed with the public prosecutor.