The Jurade of Saint-Émilion in Malta
A delegation of the Jurade of Saint-Émilion led by Mr. Jean-François Quénin, President of the Counsel of the wines of Saint-Émilion came to Malta.
Situated 35 kms to the northeast of Bordeaux, Saint-Émilion is a World Heritage site with a history that goes back to prehistoric times. While Saint-Émilion is rich in Romanesque churches and architecture, its vineyards that date back to the second century stand out in a class of their own. Saint-Émilion remains today a temple to the best wine-making traditions in the world.
The Jurade de Saint-Émilion dates back to 1199 when King John, John Lackland, confirmed the political, economic and judicial rights given by his brother King Richard, Coeur de Lion to important people in Saint-émilion in order to ensure the administration of the City. In exchange, England had the privilege of the wines of Saint-Émilion. When the area came under French sovereignty in the late 15th century, the Jurade’s rights, duties and powers were confirmed anew by the Kings of France. The Jurade governed the City until the French Revolution. Today the members of the Jurade are Ambassadors of the wines of Saint-Émilion and aim to guarantee their authenticity and quality.
The visit organised by Mr. Michael Tabone, Chancelier of the Jurade, reinforced the links between France and Malta not only in the wine-growing domain but also promoted the French notion of « terroir » as well as the «l’art de vivre à la française».
On welcoming them to a reception organised in their honour at the Résidence de France, Chargé d’affaires Tudor Alexis recalled the centuries-old links that prevail between France and Malta in these words: " To mention the Jurade in Malta, it is to revive the buildings erected by the Knights of the Order of Saint John in the Bordeaux region before their installation on this archipelago: the chapels, the churches and the inns that these warrior - healers left behind them here in Malta have their counterparts in France in the form of castles and commanderies in France to care for and to help pilgrims to the Holy Land or those on their way to Santiago de Compostela".
On Saturday December 10th, Tenor Joseph Calleja (member of the Jurade) as well as the soprano Gillian Zammit sang during a mass at the co-Cathedral (see the video extract here). The Jurade then inducted Maltese personalities such as Dr Albert Grech, Dr Pascal Demajo, Mr. Andrew Ganado, Soprano Gillian Zammit, Mrs Simone Mizzi, Baroness Christianne Ramsey Scicluna, Mr. Alex Arrigo, Mr. Simon Pace, Professor Albert Cilia Vincenti, Father Michael Agius as well as the Chargé d’affaires of the French embassy.
The President of Malta, Honorable George Abela then invited the members of the Jurade to a charity lunch in favour of the Community Chest Fund accompanied by a tasting of ten wines from Saint-Émilion. On the same evening a concert was organized at Teatru Manoel under the baton of Maestro Brian Schembri (equally Jurat of Saint-Émilion).