Saint-Émilion: not the Pétrus

Saint-Émilion’s wine is graded into three tiers – more or less – and there appears to be a correlation between the height of the tier and the width of your wallet.

A quick glance into a wine shop window tells me, I too can quaff a bottle of 1961 Pétrus for  €10,000. A quick calculation into Aussie dollars tells me I’ll have to be creative and google a virtual experience. According to the tasting notes of someone called the Wine Bum, it tasted like “iron-fillings and pencil sharpenings”. I’m sort of glad I skipped the tasting.

Apart from creating outstanding full-bodied reds, the village is picture post-card perfect. Perched on a hilltop, it oversees a patchwork of vineyards, rolling hills and limestone châteaux. The town itself comprises of cobblestone street and  ancient alleyways which co-exist alongside terrace cafes and dozens and dozens of wine stores.

So if your idea of a holiday is popping-in-and-out of wine shops, chatting to friendly sommeliers and quaffing a few good full-bodied reds then Saint-Émilion – the merlot capital of the world – is the place for you.

A pilgrimage-like destination for wine buffs and connoisseurs alike.

One handy travel hint though is to remain sober at all times; watch those sommeliers. There’s a good reason why they’re so friendly and it’s got nothin’ to do with your charm, beauty or wit.

For those that know me, this may seem a little out-of-character, but it appears I didn’t heed my own travel advice.

A few days ago a  friendly customs officer rang and apparently I have a box of Saint-Émilion wine sitting on the tarmac at Melbourne airport. It needs to be collected ASAP otherwise they are going to charge me storage costs.

I’m praying it’s not a box of Pétrus and so is my husband.

A good travel tip is to buy your French wines when you return home; believe me, it’s far cheaper.  Europa Cellars in East Melbourne has an excellent range of imported wines, even a few Saint-Émilion merlots.


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