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Cuvée Elena by Chateau La Grace Dieu des Prieurs, the first-ever Chardonnay from commune Saint-Emilion, has been awarded the Gold Medal at the Global Chardonnay Masters 2020. Held annually by the leading European drinks trade publication The Drinks Business, the prestigious competition is a top international ranking event for the global wine industry.

The wines from more than 20 countries, including France, Italy, Spain, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Greece, Turkey, Romania, South Africa, Mexico and others took part in the Global Chardonnay Masters 2020. Under the terms and conditions of the competition, samples of chardonnay from around the world were evaluated in a blind tasting by a panel of judges, consisting of group of Masters of Wine, Master Sommeliers and leading UK wine buyers. According to the Global Masters, ‘for the first time, preconceived notions of the importance of location are pushed aside, allowing wines from across the globe to be judged purely on style and quality’. Competing in the Premium Category, Cuvée Elena has got a Gold as a Chardonnay Aged in Oak Barrels.

This was the maiden participation of Chateau La Grace Dieu des Prieurs in the Global Chardonnay Masters. Known for its red Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, Art Russe Collection, with Russian art on the labels, the Chateau released its first white wine as recently as November 2020, and it is Cuvée Elena 2019, the very first vintage, that was submitted to the judgement of the wine gurus in London. Furthermore, the wine created by the winemaker Louis Mitjavile and the Chateau team is the first-ever chardonnay produced in the commune Saint-Emilion.

Laurent Prosperi, Director of Chateau La Grace Dieu des Prieurs:

We are honoured to represent France at this prestigious international competition. We are very proud of our victory and the fact that we are part of the tradition of the great French art of winemaking. The birth of Cuvée Elena was preceded by a long and painstaking work of our winemaker Louis Mitjavile and the entire Chateau team, and we are proud that the white wine of Chateau La Grace Dieu des Prieurs elicited a direct response from leading wine experts and has been recognized as one of the world’s best chardonnays of its class.’

The Chardonnay variety occupies one hectare of the Chateau La Grace Dieu des Prieurs vineyards. Cuvée Elena is vinified in 100% new oak barrels from the Radoux Coopery; aging takes approximately 12 months. The wine is bottled exclusively in magnums. The unique bottles for Cuvée Elena are handcrafted at the Waltersperger artisanal glass workshop labelled France’s Living Heritage Enterprise. Decorated with a floral motif, each bottle is painted by an artist individually.

As previously reported, by decision of the Chateau owner Andrei Filatov, the 2019 vintage and all subsequent vintages of Cuvée Elena will be donated to charities. Each year, the bulk of the produce will be made available to charity auctions in the regions where Art Russe is present, and all proceeds will go to charities supporting children with severe illnesses. The charity idea for the project comes from the spouse of the Chateau owner, Elena Filatova.

About Chardonnay

Originally from France, Chardonnay has spread throughout the world, becoming a truly global variety. It is the most popular white grape variety in the world. According to the Oxford Companion to Wine, there is not a single wine-producing country that does not cultivate or attempts to cultivate Chardonnay in today’s world. According to the OIV (the International Organization of Vine and Wine), the total area of ​​Chardonnay vineyards in 2015 was 210,000 hectares across 41 countries, while plantings continue to increase. As of 2011, Chardonnay plantings in France were 48,000 ha (source: The Oxford Companion to Wine). The tremendous success of Chardonnay is due to its good adaptability to climatic conditions, its ability to age in oak and its popularity with wine lovers around the world.