The smallest of the four top appellations of the Médoc, situated in the immediate vicinity of Pauillac, it is also the most homogeneous – in terms of both terroir and the quality and style of the wines.
Saint-Julien, Pauillac's southern neighbour, is also located in the centre of the Bordeaux-Médoc winegrowing area. The cultivated area extends over a rectangle of just 5 by 3.5 kilometres, and it has only about 900 hectares of vines. These are shared by the 11 classified top estates, including legendary "Châteaux" such as Léoville-Las Cases, Léoville-Barton, Léoville-Poyferré, Ducru Beaucaillou and Gruaud-Larose.
Saint-Julien has particularly uniform soils of deep gravel on so-called croupes, undulating elevations about 20 metres high, which additionally benefit from the proximity to the "river", as the locals call the fjord-like Atlantic estuary of the Garonne and Dordogne.
As in Pauillac, Cabernet Sauvignon clearly dominates in Saint-Julien, accounting for over 60% of the vineyard area. It is complemented by 30% Merlot and less than 10% of other varieties such as Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
Saint-Julien and Pauillac look quite similar in terms of wine style, though the Saint-Julien may be a little smoother and fruitier on average than a Pauillac, especially after longer maturation. They combine structure, power and density with polish and elegance.
Best age for drinking
6-20 years for basic wines and vintages,10-30 years for top wines and vintages.