Situated on the Right Bank (east) of the Dordogne River, St-Emilion is the largest area on the entire Right Bank, and Cabernet Franc is the grape variety most closely associatd with the region. There are three vineyard appellations that encompass the topography of St-Emilion, ranging from gentle hills to the river's edge: the Cotes, the graves and the sables. Wines of the Cotes are the most desirable, followed by the wines from the flatter vineyards of the graves (which despite its name has little gravel except in the two great vineyards of Figeac and Cheval Blanc), and finally to the more ordinary offerings of the riverfront sables. Soils range from the leaner gravel and limestone of the Cotes to the heavier sand and clay of the graves.
St-Emilion: Overall appellation for simplest wines.
St-Emilion Grand Cru: Group of about 200 chateaux making mostly pleasant wine ready for consumption.
Premier Grand Cru Classe: Official classification (1955, 1985) designating the creme de la creme. This is a group of 13, with Cheval Blanc and Ausone in Group A and Anglus, Beausajour-Fagout, Beausajour-Duffau, Chateaux: Belair, Conon, Clos Fourtet, Figeac, La Graffeliire, Magdelien, Pavie and Trotteveille in Group B.