Sunday, January 11, 2009

Bordeaux 1855 Classification

Disclaimer: Laws are always subject to change!!

The 57 appellations of Bordeaux are not classified in a single official ranking. But the Médoc, Sauternes and Barsac, Graves, and Saint-Emilion districts do have their own official internal classification systems. Pomerol, one of Bordeaux's greatest assets, was not included in the 1855 Classification, and remains unclassified to this day. However, Château Pétrus is often included with the First Growths (Premiers Crus) of the 1855.

Much like our World's Fair today, Napoléon III's 1855 Expositon Universelle de Paris was a chance for France to display its very best for the world to see. The Gironde Chamber of Commerce requested that a classification system be devised to accompany their display of the fine wines of Bordeaux. The Bordeaux Wine Brokers' Union went to work on the project and came up with what we now refer to as the Classification of 1855.

They came up with a five-class ranking system of the red wines from the Médoc region, with the exception of Château Haut-Brion from Graves, which had to be included due to its renown. The white wines of Sauternes and Barsac were also included in a two-class ranking. The list reflected the market's view of the relative quality between the wines in terms of the selling price and reputation of the various châteaux. Within each category, the châteaux were ranked in order of quality — or selling price.

Considering the fact that many châteaux have changed hands and with them the managment, thereby possibly effecting the quality of the wines for better or worse, the classification has held up remarkably well. The classification has only undergone one significant change in the last almost 150 years. By decree, on June 21, 1973, Château Mouton-Rothschild was promoted from a deuxieme cru to a premeir cru. At the same time, the premeir crus were to be listed in alphabetical order.

The 1855 Official Classification of the MÉDOC

First Growths (Premiers Crus) Commune

Château Lafite-Rothschild (Pauillac)
Château Margaux (Margaux)
Château Latour (Pauillac)
Château Haut-Brion Pessac (Graves)
Château Mouton-Rothschild (Pauillac)

Second Growths (Deuxièmes Crus) Commune
Château Rausan-Ségla (Margaux)
Château Rauzan-Gassies (Margaux)
Château Léoville-Las Cases (Saint-Julien)
Château Léoville-Poyferré (Saint-Julien)
Château Léoville-Barton (Saint-Julien)
Château Durfort-Vivens (Margaux)
Château Gruaud-Larose (Saint-Julien)
Château Lascombes (Margaux)
Château Brane-Cantenac Cantenac (Margaux)
Château Pichon-Longueville-Baron (Pauillac)
Château Pichon-Longueville, Comtesse de Lalande (Pauillac)
Château Ducru-Beaucaillou (Saint-Julien)
Château Cos d'Estournel (Saint-Estèphe)
Château Montrose (Saint-Estèphe)

Third Growths (Troisièmes Crus) Commune
Château Kirwan Cantenac (Margaux)
Château d'Issan Cantenac (Margaux)
Château Lagrange (Saint-Julien)
Château Langoa-Barton (Saint-Julien)
Château Giscours Labarde (Margaux)
Château Malescot Saint-Exupéry (Margaux)
Château Boyd-Cantenac Cantenac (Margaux)
Château Cantenac-Brown Cantenac (Margaux)
Château Palmer Cantenac (Margaux)
Château La Lagune Ludon (Haut-Médoc)
Château Desmirail (Margaux)
Château Calon-Ségur (Saint-Estèphe)
Château Ferrière (Margaux)
Château Marquis d'Alesme-Becker (Margaux)

Fourth Growths (Quatrièmes Crus) Commune
Château Saint-Pierre (Saint-Julien)
Château Talbot (Saint-Julien)
Château Branaire-Ducru (Saint-Julien)
Château Duhart-Milon-Rothschild (Pauillac)
Château Pouget Cantenac (Margaux)
Château La Tour-Carnet Saint-Laurent (Haut Médoc)
Château Lafon-Rochet (Saint-Estèphe)
Château Beychevelle (Saint-Julien)
Château Prieuré-Lichine Cantenac (Margaux)
Château Marquis-de-Terme (Margaux)

Fifth Growths (Cinquièmes Crus) Commune
Château Pontet-Canet (Pauillac)
Château Batailley (Pauillac)
Château Haut-Batailley (Pauillac)
Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste (Pauillac)
Château Grand-Puy-Ducasse (Pauillac)
Château Lynch-Bages (Pauillac)
Château Lynch-Moussas (Pauillac)
Château Dauzac Labarde (Margaux)
Château Mouton-Baronne-Philippe (Pauillac)
Château du Tertre Arsac (Margaux)
Château Haut-Bages-Libéral (Pauillac)
Château Pédesclaux (Pauillac)
Château Belgrave Saint-Laurent (Haut-Médoc)
Château de Camensac Saint-Laurent (Haut-Médoc)
Château Cos-Labory (Saint-Estèphe)
Château Clerc-Milon (Pauillac)
Château Croizet-Bages (Pauillac)
Château Cantemerle Macau (Haut-Médoc)

The 1855 Official Classification of SAUTERNES – BARSAC

First Great Growth (Premier Cru Supérieur) Commune
Château d'Yquem (Sauternes)

First Growths (Premiers Crus) Commune
Château La Tour-Blanche (Bommes)
Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey (Bommes)
Château Clos Haut-Peyraguey (Bommes)
Château de Rayne-Vigneau (Bommes)
Château Suduiraut (Preignac)
Château Coutet (Barsac)
Château Climens (Barsac)
Château Guiraud (Sauternes)
Château Rieussec (Fargues)
Château Rabaud-Promis (Bommes)
Château Sigalas-Rabaud (Bommes)

Second Growths (Deuxièmes Crus) Commune
Château de Myrat (Barsac)
Château Doisy-Daëne (Barsac)
Château Doisy-Dubroca (Barsac)
Château Doisy-Védrines (Barsac)
Château d'Arche (Sauternes)
Château Filhot (Sauternes)
Château Broustet (Barsac)
Château Nairac (Barsac)
Château Caillou (Barsac)
Château Suau (Barsac)
Château de Malle (Preignac)
Château Romer-du-Hayot (Fargues)
Château Lamothe-Despujols (Sauternes)
Château Lamothe-Guignard (Sauternes)

Other than Haut-Brion, the clasification of 1855 did not take into account the châteaux of Graves. It was first classified in 1953, but the classification did not became official until the 1959 ranking. The one class list is divided bewteen red wines and white wines, which means that some châteaux are mentioned twice, once in each category. To avoid disputes the châteaux within each category, are not ordered by quality.

The 1959 Official Classification of the GRAVES

Classified Red Wines of Graves Commune
Château Bouscaut (Cadaujac)
Château Haut-Bailly (Léognan)
Château Carbonnieux (Léognan)
Domaine de Chevalier (Léognan)
Château de Fieuzal (Léognan)
Château d'Olivier (Léognan)
Château Malartic-Lagravière (Léognan)
Château La Tour-Martillac (Martillac)
Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte (Martillac)
Château Haut-Brion (Pessac)
Château La Mission-Haut-Brion (Talence)
Château Pape-Clément (Pessac)
Château Latour-Haut-Brion (Talence)

Classified White Wines of Graves Commune
Château Bouscaut (Cadaujac)
Château Carbonnieux (Léognan)
Château Domaine de Chevalier (Léognan)
Château d'Olivier (Léognan)
Château Malartic Lagravière (Léognan)
Château La Tour-Martillac (Martillac)
Château Laville-Haut-Brion (Talence)
Château Couhins-Lurton (Villenave d'Ornan)
Château Couhins (Villenave d'Ornan)
Château Haut-Brion (Pessac) (added in 1960)

The St-Émilion Classification
Saint-Émilion was omitted from the 1855 classification. As a result, the local Wine Growers' Union decided to formally draw up a Classification of St-Émilion in 1955. It was to be revised every ten years to keep it from becoming to rigid and outdated. Although this is not happening on schedule, it has been revised twice, most recently in 1985.

The classification was based on soil, a tasting of the wine, and the reputation of the vineyard. Work on a new revision is being done now and should be published any time.

The 1985 Official Classification of St-Émilion

First Growths (Premiers Crus) Classés — A
Château Ausone
Château Cheval Blanc

First Growths (Premiers Crus) Classés — B
Château Beauséjour-Duffau La Garrosse
Château Belair
Clos Fourtet
Château Figeac
Château La Gaffeliére
Château Magdelaine
Château Pavie
Château Trottevieille

Grands Crus Classés
Château L'Angelus
Château L'Arrosée
Château Balestard La Tonnelle
Château Beausejour-Becot
Château Bellevue
Château Bergat
Château Berliquet
Château Cadet Piola
Château Canon-La-Gaffeliére
Château Cap de Mourlin
Château Le Chatelet
Château Chauvin
Château Clos Des Jacobins
Château Clos La Madeleine
Château Clos De L'Oratoire
Château Clos Saint-Martin
Château La Clotte
Château La Clusiére
Château Corbin
Château Corbin Michotte
Château Couvent Des Jacobins
Château Croque-Michotte
Château Curé-Bon-La-Madeleine
Château Dassault
Château La Dominique
Château Faurie de Souchard
Château Fonplégade
Château Fonroque
Château Franc-Mayne
Château Grand-Barrail-Lamarzelle-Figeac
Château Grand-Corbin
Château Grand-Corbin Despagne
Château Grand-Mayne
Château Grand-Pontet
Château Gaudet-Saint-Julien
Château Haut-Corbin
Château Haut-Sarpe
Château Lanoite
Château Larcis-Ducasse
Château Lamarzelle
Château Larmande
Château Laroze
Château Matras
Château Mauvezin
Château Moulin-du-Cadet
Château L'Oratoire
Château Pavie-Decesse
Château Pavie-Macquin
Château Pavillon-Cadet
Château Petit-Faurie-de-Soutard
Château Le Prieuré
Château Ripeau
Château Saint-Georges-Coat-Pavie
Château Sansonnet
Château La Serre
Château Soutard
Château Tertre-Daugay
Château La Tour-du-Pin-Figeac (Giraud-Belivier)
Château La Tour-du-Pin-Figeac (Moueix)
Château La Tour-Figeac
Château Trimoulet
Château Troplong-Mondot
Château Villemaurine
Château Yon-Figeac

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