Saint Estephe Wine Region Guide

The Underestimated Jewel of Bordeaux — Where Patience Unlocks Perfection


Last updated: March 21, 2024


Saint-Estephe is perhaps the most misunderstood of the Medoc’s great wine appellations. For a start, there are only five classified growths, and none rival the Margaux and Lafite cachet. Furthermore, Saint-Estephe typically receives criticism for producing rustic and sometimes tough wines with an imposing tannic backbone – a criticism not entirely undeserved. The gravel banks that give the Haut-Medoc and its wines their character and quality begin to peter out at Saint-Estephe. The northernmost of the four famous appellations are the heart of the Medoc: St-JulienMargauxPauillac, and Saint-Estephe.

Yet Saint-Estephe produces some of the most venerable clarets in Bordeaux – they simply require patience. Often challenging and closed in their youth, superlative wines such as Montrose and Calon-Segur open up after about ten years to wonderful complexity, filling your mouth with flavor. The best wines are perfumed, robust, and very long-lived. Saint-Estephe can shine as brilliantly as any Pauillac First Growth with some judicious selection.


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James lawrence

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