A last minute bureaucratic hitch has prevented eight Bordeaux châteaux from reclaiming their legal status.
 
France's government approved on 22 December a ruling that restored the eight St Emilion châteaux to Grands Crus Classés or Premiers Grands Crus Classés status, following their demotion in 2006.

But a Constitutional Committee, convened after Christmas, has rejected the change.
 
"The rejection was not about content. Everyone, the Senate, the National Assembly and the Commission Mixte Paritaire, voted unanimously in favour," François Despagne, vice president of the St Emilion Wine Union, told just-drinks today (8 January).
 
The amendment was instead rejected because it had been included in the wrong law.
 
The châteaux are now unable to sell their 2006 vintage in the US, where the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) fears a potential fraud issue.

Sales in Europe have been approved, said Despagne, but not yet for the 2007 vintage, which is to be bottled in April.