Like Beaune in Burgundy, St-Emilion seems to have more shops selling wine than anything else. A quick Google search reveals 58 different shops in the town alone, ranging in size and offering – some independent and others comprising a commercial empire of between three to 14 outlets all with the same owner.
Whether you’re looking for Grand Cru Classé bottles from your birth year, wines from estates that no longer exist, or large formats of 3L and above, St-Emilion will have them.
The UNESCO World Heritage site is easily reached from Bordeaux city – roughly 45km away and a 45-minute drive from the airport (Mérignac) or train station (Gare St Jean) or a 30-minute train ride.
In recent years the town, and surrounding wineries, have fully embraced oenotourism, transforming shops and cellars into top tourist destinations.
A large number of estates have opened wine boutiques, and the majority of shops in town offer free daily tastings, sometimes with up to 40 wines open to taste at your leisure.
Many are filled with experienced and knowledgable staff to help you pick out a bottle for a special occasion or memorable keep-sake from the trip. Almost every shop in the town offers shipping around the world and some will let you keep your wine purchases there for the day, or duration of your holiday, to pick up on your way home.
The cobbled streets fill up during the summer time (April-October) with people enjoying outdoor dining terraces, riding electric bikes through the nearby vineyards and sightseeing on the tourist train that ventures into the countryside revealing the history and culture of wine in the region, but the shops stay open all year long. Some close only for Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve so there’s never a wrong time to visit.
Part of the fun is going into a few to see for yourself, but below we’ve highlighted some of our favourites.
Maison du Vin de St Emilion
Situated at the top of town, this is a great place to stop at first. It’s both a wine shop and tourist information centre focused on the region’s wines. There are daily tastings available and a large selection of wines from both well-known and smaller estates on offer, ranging in price from €10.50 to over €1,000.
There is currently a large selection of 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2018 wines as well as some from the neighbouring appellations of Puisseguin St-Emilion and Montagne St-Emilion.
A 2005 Clos Fourtet is listed as €91, 1993 Château Figeac for €261 and Château Ausone 2002 for €1,100.
La Grand Cave
Opposite the historic restaurant L’Envers du Décor, owned by Château Pavie, is La Grand Cave – a large, bright and shiny shop filled with impressive icon bottles from the region including two huge wine fridges full of Left Bank first growths and top estates from the Right Bank.
Be sure to check out the cellar downstairs housing back vintages (see above) – and the oldest wine in stock (currently 1928) – as well as a range of old Burgundies, vintage Champagnes and large-format bottles.
You can also find lots of Armagnac and Cognac here as well as Riedel glasses and decanters.
Vignobles & Châteaux
An excellent wine store and négociant business full of large format bottles, Bordeaux white wines and back vintages. At the time of enquiring, the oldest bottle in stock was an 1895 Château Larcis Ducasse (it was previously an 1866 Château d’Yquem, but that was recently enjoyed by the sales team, I was told).
Look out for the ‘recent release’ tag at the bottom of many of the bottles – including a 1958 Clos Fourtet – signifying the bottle has not long come direct from the wine estate’s cellars, guaranteeing perfect provenance. There is also an impressive Petrus vertical from 1981-2019.
It also runs a wine bar on the corner opposite.
Comptoir des Vignobles
Source : https://www.decanter.com/wine/best-wine-shops-in-st-emilion-509179/