Saint Émilion is one of the most famous Bordeaux regions. It is on the Right Bank of the Dordogne River. Merlot and Cabernet Franc are the predominant varieties.
The appellation takes its name from the picturesque and touristed, hilltop, walled town of Saint Émilion. Saint Émilion was a wine growing area long before the Médoc, but its fortunes declined in the 19th century while the Bordeaux wine trade concentrated on left bank wines. However its reputation has been rejuvenated in the later part of the 20th century, as the number and quality of micro châteaux (estates that are much smaller and less grand than those of the left bank) increased. For several historical reasons before the French revolution Saint Émilion's land was initially divided into thousands of plots. This historical inheritance later turned out to be an advantage because of the astonishing diversity of the local soils.
Saint Émilion wines can be drunk early, with the fruity richness of the wines showing through from 4 or 5 years. After 10-15 years of ageing, the wines of Saint Émilion tend to gain complexity from their initial aromas by integrating rich leather, earthy and spicy flavours.