Château Magdelaine is a Premier Grand Cru Classe B of the St.-Emilion appellation. It is 27 acres and is planted to 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. For more than 200 years the estate was owned by the Chatonnet family, but was acquired by the Moueix family in 1952. About 30,000 bottles are produced annually and the second wine is Château Saint-Brice. Robert M. Parker Jr. has written that despite the “garagiste” wines and more modern styles being championed in the region, “Magdelaine clings to its traditional character, with understated, classy elegance and delicate, mineral-scented fruit…Never massive or powerful, it is a wine of finesse.”
Saint-Émilion is on the east side of the Dordogne River. At 13,400 acres it is one of Bordeaux’s largest appellations, and perhaps its most picturesque. It is also home to what has been called “the garagiste” movement of upstart, tradition-defying winemakers who produce artisanal wines in styles that are unconventional for the appellation. The village of Saint-Émilion dates from the middle ages and it sits on low hills, surrounded by ancient walls. Like its neighbor Pomerol, Saint-Émilion was not included in the famous Bordeaux classification system of 1855. But a century later a ranking system was put in place, and unlike the classification system for the Medoc, the Saint-Émilion system is reviewed every ten years, meaning that estates can be upgraded or downgraded. There are three rankings: Grand Cru Classé, Premier Grand Cru Classé B and Premier Grand Cru Classé A, with the final ranking being the best. Such legendary Saint-Émilion estates as Châteaux Ausone and Cheval-Blanc are Premier Grand Cru Classé A, along with Châteaux Pavie and Angélus, both added to the classification in 2012. Wines in this appellation are primarily Merlot, mixed with Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.