The 1855 Grand Cru
Established in preparation for a presentation of the wines of the Gironde at the Universal Exhibition in Paris, at the request of Emperor NAPOLEON III. The Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce entrusted the classification to the “Syndicat des Courtiers de Commerce”, brokers on the Bordeaux stock exchange. Their mission was to make an official classification based on long years of experience, and corresponding to recognition of the quality of the terroir and the renown of each growth. Information was drawn from the best sources.
Published on 18 April 1855, the Classification was thus the culmination of a market reality and an evolution that had been going on for more than a century.
THE 1855 CLASSIFICATION APPEARS AS FOLLOWS TODAY:
For the fine red wines:
5 Châteaux are classed as Firsts, 14 as Seconds, 14 as Thirds, 10 as Fourths and 18 as Fifths, spread over the 5 appellations of the Médoc (Saint-Estèphe, Pauillac, Saint-Julien, Margaux & Haut-Médoc) and one only in the Graves region.
For the fine dessert wines:
1 Château is classed as a Superior First Growth, 11 as Firsts and 15 as Seconds, spread over the 2 appellations (Sauternes & Barsac).
History of the
BY DEWEY MARKHAM JR
Author of «1855 – a History of the Bordeaux Classification»
The history of Bordeaux may be read in the pages of its classification. More than just a hierarchy of wine-producing estates, the list speaks volumes about the origins of the region, the wine trade that makes it function, and, of course, the châteaux themselves.— READ THE HISTORY OF THE CLASSIFICATION