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

St. Emilion
Haut Médoc crus
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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
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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
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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
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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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