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January 5, 2019

France: Saint-Émilion

The roads leaving Saint-Émilion head through the vineyards.

Saint-Émilion is one of our favorite wine towns. Recently we visited the commune again for our third time. We did not visit alone. Saint-Émilion is a very popular stop for oenophiles from around the world. Usually the crowds put us off but for some reason the throngs of red wine addled tourists are more tolerable in Saint-Émilion.

Past the impossibly large number of places to taste and buy wine, the village of around 2,000 inhabitants is very well preserved, save for the painted wooden facades of the countless wine stores. The steeply pitched medieval street plan has been maintained, complete with the rough-hewn cobbles. Past its modern role as a wine connoisseurs’ pilgrimage destination, the town has interesting history and a fascinating church built into the rock. The monolithic church is not the only cave in the area: An extensive network of manmade caverns runs underground throughout the plateau. Historically the caves have been a good place to store and age wine.

Narrow streets of the medieval town

Place de I’Eglise Monolithe

The experts say that the 2015 vintage is very good for red wine in France. We have to agree. And it seems that the 2016’s might well be better, at least in Bordeaux. We might just have to return again in 2019. By then the tannins from the 2015’s might just have come off of our tongues.


Saint-Émilion has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Our latest visit to Saint-Émilion was in May of 2018.

Gigi navigates the roughly cobbled streets.

Château Beau-Séjour Bécot is just outside Saint-Émilion’s walls.

The tasting line up at Château Beau-Séjour Bécot

If you feel like spending a lot of money on wine there are many options in Saint-Émilion.

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