December 27, 2013

0918, 0919 FRANCE (New Aquitaine) - Jurisdiction of Saint-Emilion (UNESCO WHS)

Located at 35km northeast of Bordeaux, Saint-Émilion is one of the principal red wine areas of Bordeaux. Its history goes back to prehistoric times, and in 27 BC began the Roman occupation, with the first vineyards by grafting new varieties of grape on the Vitis biturica that grew naturally in the region. The first Christian monasteries appeared in the 7th century, and the town was named after the monk Émilion, who lived in a hermitage carved into the rock there in the 8th century. Actually the monks started up the commercial wine production in the area. As the region was on the Pilgrimage Route to Santiago de Compostela, from the 11th century onwards it experienced great prosperity. It retained the medieval appearance until the 18th century, when its fortifications were dismantled, and this had an adverse effect on the vineyards, only after 1853 starting to recover. In the 18th century the quality of its wines was recognized as exceptional. During the Second Empire the production of red wines in the region became generalized, replacing the white wines that had been most common in the medieval period. Nevertheless Saint Émilion wines weren't included in the 1855 Bordeaux classification, the first formal classification being made in 1955.

The relief of the region is characterized by a stratum of limestone which disappears to the north, being replaced by a heterogeneous mixture of clayey sands and gravels. Before viticulture predominated, medieval and Renaissance castles were built on dominant sites as seigniorial residences. Settlements are characterized by modest stone houses, found in small groups, for the use of vineyard workers. The chais (wine storehouses) are large functional rectangular structures built from stone or a mixture of brick and stone, with tiled double-pitched roofs. The primary grape varieties used are the Merlot and Cabernet Franc, with small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon. Château Ausone and Château Cheval Blanc are the only two wines currently classified as Premiers grands crus classes A (First Great Growths category A). There are then 13 Premiers grands crus classés B and 53 grands crus classés. In addition, a large number of vineyards are classified as Grand Cru. Because it is an outstanding example of an historic vineyard landscape that has survived intact and in activity to the present day, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.

About the stamps
On the first postcard
The stamp is part of a series of sea ships, designed by French marine artist Roger Chapelet, engraved by Claude Durrens and issued during several years. I don't know how many stamps were issued in total, but I found four:
10.04.1971 Cap Hornier Antoinette (0.80 F)
06.05.1972 Terre Neuvas - Côte d´Émeraude (0.90 F)
09.06.1973 5 Mats France II (0.90 F) - it's on the postcard
04.12.1975 Fregate La Melpomène (0.90 F)

On the second postcard
The stamp belongs to a series of two, Santon of Provence, issued from red cross on November 28, 1977:
• The tramp (0,80 + 0,20 F) - it's on the postcard
• The healer (1,00 + 0,25 F)

Jurisdiction of Saint-Emilion - UNESCO official website
Saint-Émilion - Wikipedia

Sender 1, 2: Sébastien C. (direct swap)
1: sent from Bordeaux (Aquitaine / France), on 27.11.2013
2: sent from Bordeaux (Aquitaine / France), on 28.11.2013 

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