Were two great figures of the Bordeaux vineyard judges and parties in the development of the 2012 classification of the great wines of Saint-Émilion?
The Bordeaux Criminal Court begins a two-day trial on Monday which could also be that of a system.
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Hubert de Boüard, co-owner of the famous Château Angélus and wine consultant, and Philippe Castéja, merchant and owner of Château Trotte Vieille, are accused of "
taking illegal interest
" in the classification process, the only one among the big names. Bordeaux wines to be revised (every ten years). As noted by the Bordeaux Court of Appeal, which gave the green light to a trial after 10 years of multiple legal developments, this classification open to the properties of the Saint-Émilion Grand Cru appellation is "
decisive for the reputation and the financial and commercial valuation of the winners
”in a Bordeaux wine market which totals billions of euros.
Messrs. De Boüard and Castéja were both members of the national wine committee of the National Institute of Origin and Quality (INAO), a public establishment attached to the Ministry of Agriculture, which validated the classification regulations and then its results, determined by an independent commission.
Hubert de Boüard, more active than Philippe Castéja according to the survey, was also a member of the Saint-Émilion wine management body, a body which participated in the development of the classification regulations with the INAO according to the 'instruction.
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In 2012, Angélus was promoted to the highest Premier Grand Cru Classé A, and Trotte Vieille maintained as Premier Grand Cru Classé B. Seven other properties for which Hubert de Boüard was a consultant were awarded in the classification.
It's as if someone who took the bac exam himself wrote the subjects,
" says Eric Morain, the lawyer for civil parties, three family properties (Croque-Michotte, Corbin-Michotte and La Tour du Pin Figeac) failed and who began their legal fight in early 2013.
A system that sells the brand and no longer grapes
The lawyer denounces the attitude of the Bordeaux public prosecutor's office, which appealed against the decision to dismiss the investigating judge. "
I do not know of any other procedure in which a prosecutor's office has done this, except when it concerns a gendarme or a police officer,
" he said. "
It was absolutely necessary to save the soldiers of Boüard and Castéja ...
", great names in Bordeaux with considerable influence.
According to Master Morain, “
this trial puts the church back in the middle of the village
We are going to talk about a system which does not tell the consumer that the tasting note only counts for 30% in the classification
", he adds, the rest measuring the notoriety, the reception of the châteaux and so on.
A system that sells the brand and no longer the grape
The two defendants have always denied the accusations of conflict of interest and their defense, including lawyer Antoine Vey, argued that they “
” deliberations that may concern the classification.
The investigation also failed to establish that they had taken part in the votes.
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At the same time, an administrative dispute is still in progress against the 2012 classification which was however supposed to replace the 2006 classification, canceled by the administrative justice after - already - appeals. The judicial fate of the 2012 ranking may therefore not be known before the publication of its replacement, in 2022.