Bordeaux - Classification Systems

6 important questions on Bordeaux - Classification Systems

Following the 1855 classification, four classifications exist for sub-regions in Bordeaux, which are they?

  1. The 1855 classification
  2. The Graves classification
  3. The Saint Emilion classification
  4. The Crus Bourgeois du Médoc classification

Which regions (AOC) in Bordeaux, make red wines only?

St. Emilion
Haut Médoc crus

Describe the 1855 classification of Bordeaux, what are the five First Growths?

  • For 60 estates in Médoc and Graves (left bank)
  • 5 tiers; first growths (crus) to cinquièmes crus
  • Haut médoc plus sauternes (ch d’Yquem = 1e grand cru superieur)

First Growths
  1. Ch. Lafite Rotschild
  2. Ch Mouton Rotschild
  3. Ch Latour
  4. Ch Margaux
  5. Ch Haut Brion

Describe the Graves classification of Bordeaux

  • established in 1959, based on list of 16 classified chateaux (pricing, fame, quality),
  • red and white,
  • all in Pessac Leognan

Describe the Saint Emilion classification and what is judged on. Name the four tiers of this system and give the names of Classé A chateaux.

From 1955, revised every 10 years (most recent 2012),
4 tiers:
  1. Premier grand cru classé A: Chateaux Ausone, Cheval Blanc, Pavie, Angélus
  2. premier grand cru classé B
  3. Grand cru classé
  4. Grand cru – basic wine, misleading wording

Chateaux are judged on:
  • terroir
  • method of production
  • reputation
  • commercial considerations
  • blind tasting of at least 10 vintages

Crus Bourgeois is a classification specific for Médoc wines (not individual chateaux), where is it based on and what are the tiers?

  • Created in 1932, revised in 2010
  • Level below Grand Cru Classé but still superior quality
  • for individual wines awarded annually
  • Assessment based on 1) production method, 2) finished product

3 tiers of quality, since 2018:
  1. Crus Bourgeois
  2. Crus Bourgeois Superieur
  3. Curs bourgeois exceptionnel

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