Scandal in Saint-Émilion
In a recent article about Château Angélus, I featured an interview with the owner, Hubert de Boüard and wrote:
“The property rose in status in 1996 when it was promoted from Grand Cru Classé to Premier Grand Cru Classé (B). Just 18 years later the property was promoted to Premier Grand Cru classé (A). I congratulated Hubert for that impressive achievement and quizzed him on the claim of journalist Isabelle Saporta that ‘Hubert de Boüard is judge and jury in the preparation of the classification’.”
He explained that the selection process is based on a blind tasting by 15 experts and is beyond reproach. End of story. Well, apparently it’s not the end of story.
Wine-Searcher has just revealed that Hubert de Boüard is,
“… under formal investigation for collusion, with French authorities suspecting they have had the Saint-Émilion Grand Cru classification manipulated to their benefit.”
Boüard; along with Philippe Castéja, 69, owner of Château Trotte Vieille and a major négociant; are accused of,
“… partaking in the classification process itself, while they had direct or indirect interests in the classification.”
Upgrading, or down-grading a wine in the Saint-Émilion Grand Cru classification can have a huge influence on the price of wine and the value of the chateau that produced it.
It has taken five years and three successive examining magistrates to open the investigation which was sparked off after complaints from three wine producers whose properties were downgraded or removed from the classification.