French Wines: Classified Bordeaux

For the Paris Universal Exposition of 1855, the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce was asked for an official list of the best wines of the region. The Bordeaux brokers were approached and accepted the job of rating the red wines of Médoc and the white wines of Sauternes. The brokers based their ratings on the prices the wines fetched on the market. Despite the fact that the Châteaux rated in the 1855 classification have split, changed hands or merged over the years, the classification has remained virtually unchanged. The classification of 1855 only accounted for a small number of châteaux, the remainder of the classifications such as cru bourgeois were added in 1932.

There are 61 ‘cru classes’ divided into five ranks. The only major change in the rankings is that Château Mouton-Rothschild was raised from second to first growth in 1973.