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1855-Classification

Classifications of wineries(châteaux) or wines in Bordeaux were already made in the 18th century. Today there are five systems; the most famous dates back to 1855, but only wines from the left bank(Rive gauche) of the Gironde were taken into account, including the Médoc, Graves and Sauternes areas. Of course, excellent wines also grow on the right bank(Rive droite), such as Fronsac, Pomerol and Saint-Émilion. The classification, which is more than a century and a half old, applies regardless of the quality of the wines, which certainly varies from year to year. Up to now there has been only one change as an absolute exception, in which Château Mouton-Rothschild rose from 2nd to 1st place. It is still of great importance and is therefore used by the wineries for marketing purposes, with the rank being indicated on the label.

Bordeaux-Klassifizierung - Systeme bzw. Logos

The remaining four systems that are valid today for other Bordeaux areas (which, as mentioned, were not taken into account in 1855) were not introduced until much later. The cru classes are different in terms of designation and number of quality levels, which is confusing compared to the uniform Burgundy classification that applies to all appellations. There have been repeated attempts at standardisation. One suggestion came from Alexis Lichine (1913-1989), which was also not realised.

  • Médoc for red wines with five levels - 1855
  • Sauternes and Barsac for white wines with three levels - 1855
  • Cru Bourgeois (Médoc) with one step - from the 1920s, recognised by EC 1976
  • Cru Artisan (Médoc) with one level - 1989, recognised by EU 1994
  • Graves for red and white wines with one step - 1953 and 1959 respectively
  • Saint-Émilion with two steps - 1955

The single-stage systems Cru Bourgeois and Cru Artisan are valid for wineries from the Médoc that are not classified as Grands Crus and rank behind the Grands Crus of 1855. The classification, which has already been changed several times, is repeated periodically (see below). For Graves, a single-level classification was created in 1953 and supplemented in 1959, which distinguishes between red and white wines (all the estates are located in Pessac-Léognan). For Saint-Émilion, a two-tier system was introduced in 1955, the classification being linked to the sites (vineyards). It is periodically reviewed and the wineries must apply for it. In Fronsac and Pomerol, as an exception in Bordeaux, there is no classification

The association UGCB (Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux) represents the most important Bordeaux growing areas, represents the interests of independent winegrowers and acts as a marketing platform, especially for international customers. In addition to the UGCB, there are other regional associations with similar objectives, namely the Alliance des Crus Bourgeois du Médoc, the Classement des Vins de Graves and the Classements des Vins de Saint-Émilion.

The classification of 1855

Kaiser Napoleon III From 15 May to 15 November 1855, under the aegis of Napoleon III, the Châteaux held a conference on the environment. (1808-1873) the world exhibition was held in Paris. The most important exhibition site had been temporarily built between the Champs-Élysées and the Seine. The monarch...

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