The Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855 is a system to classify the best producers and wines of this famous region according to their quality, reputation and price. This Classification is divided into five Growths, or in French "Crus". This system arose thanks to the Emperor Napoleon III and was created for one of the largest and most famous events to have existed in France: The Universal Exhibition in Paris, an international exhibition where agricultural products and Fine Arts were displayed.
A total of 61 Châteaux entered this select classification including red and white wines from the Médoc Region, Sauternes and Barsac, and Graves.
The 4th Growth of Bordeaux are Châteaux of excellent quality and have received global recognition.
The 4th Growth Châteaux are:
Château Saint-Pierre, St.-Julien
Located in the Medóc area in the Saint-Julien AOC appellation. First records from this Châteaux date from 1693. It is currently the property of the Martin family, same owner of Châteaux Gloria in Saint-Julien. This beautiful vineyard is situated in the diverse and acclaimed terroir of Saint-Julien. The estate is approximately 42 acres, most of which are planted with the main variety of the left bank, Cabernet Sauvignon. Château Saint-Pierre neighbors other important Châteaux, Ducru-Beaucaillou and Gruaud-Larose.
Château Talbot, St.-Julien
Saint-Julien AOC is one of the leading appellations of the Medoc. Bordering with the Pauillac appellation, this historic Châteaux that dates from the 15th century when it belonged to the Marquis de Aux. Since the 20th Century, this beautiful Châteaux has been property of the Cordier family. Today, Nancy Bignon Cordier is leading this project with great respect for the land and wines. Châteaux Talbot is one of the largest estates in all Bordeaux with approximately 250 acres of vineyards. The 40+ year-old vines produce high quality wines thanks to the spectacular terroir with soils composed of fine gravel, the supervision of rockstar Eric Bennosit, and the work and passion of everyone involved. Their Second Label is called Connétable Talbot and it is considered one of the best Second Wines in all the Médoc area.
Château Branaire-Ducru, St.-Julien
Continuing in the spectacular appellation of Saint-Julien, Chateau Branaire-Ducru has approximately 120 acres planted to 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. The terroir is deep gravel with clay soils. The peak elevation reaches up to 14 meters. The best terroir is located near the chateau, closest to the Gironde river. The winery also has blocks further inland, with a small section of vines placed close to Chateau Lagrange and Chateau Talbot. The vineyard can be divided into 15 different blocks with 70 different parcels of vines. In 2017, François Xavier Maroteaux took the direction of his family Châteaux. Branaire-Ducru also produces a Second Wine called Duluc de Branaire-Ducru.
Château Beychevelle, St.-Julien
This Châteaux is full of traditions and history and is located in the Saint-Julien appellation. Since its beginnings in the 17th century, art and culture took an important place here, great personalities of that time such as Molière were invited to perform. Today this imposing and elegant Châteaux is owned by France's Grands Millésime. With over 222 acres planted with Bordeaux varieties the estate is mostly planted to Cabernet Sauvignon. Châteaux Beychevelle is blessed to be located in one of the best terroirs in the world. Thanks to its soils set on two deep gravel plateaus and its proximity to the Gironde River, this is a complete paradise for Cabernet Sauvignon. The Châteaux produces a Second Wine Label or “Younger Brother” as they like to call it, Amiral de Beychevelle. This Châteaux not only produces extraordinary wines, but also has a beautiful architecture worth visiting.
Château Duhart-Milon-Rothschild, Pauillac
Pauillac is the appellation that has 3 of the 5 Châteaux classified as 1st Growths. Pauillac is home to Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Latour and Château Mouton Rothschild. Château Duhart-Milon-Rothschild has the same ownership as Lafite Rothschild. Duhart-Milon and Lafite are supervised by the same technical director, Eric Kohler and both follow the same winemaking techniques. Châteaux Duhart-Milon-Rothschild has approximately 175 acres planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc varieties. The current director of the Châteaux is Charles Chevallier. Pauillac is located at a height of approximately 30 meters above sea level. This appellation has a magnificent terroir composed of gravel soils.
Château Pouget, Cantenac-Margaux
We cannot leave Margaux off the list as it is one of the most famous appellations in the entire Medoc area. Located in the Haut-Médoc, Margaux is the appellation with the highest number of Châteaux within all The Bordeaux Classification, including the world-renowned 1st Growth: Château Margaux. Château Pouget, Cantenac-Margaux, belonged for more than a century and a half to the Pouget and Chavailles family. Today, it belongs to the Guillemet family, who are also owners of Chateau Boyd Cantenac. Château Pouget is located in one of the most enviable terroirs in the world, with soils composed of gravel, this wine is the perfect combination of power and elegance. Their Second Wine Label called Antoine Pouget comes from the same vineyard as Châteaux Pouget.
Château Prieuré-Lichine, Cantenac-Margaux
Château Prieuré-Lichine, formerly known as Château La Prieuré. Prieuré-Cantenac dates back to the 10th century when this Château was founded by the monks of the Vertheuil Abbey.One of the main supporters of the growth and recognition of this Châteaux was Pope Clément V. Since the property was acquired by the renowned winemaker Alexis Lichine, or better known as "The Pope of Wine" in 1953, the Château has been in a constant process of modernizing, improving and embellishing. It is currently owned by Group Ballande. This Châteaux also produces a really powerful Second Wine Label called Confidences de Prieuré-Lichine.
Château Marquis de Terme, Margaux
Chateau Marquis de Terme, according to the diaries of Thomas Jefferson, was on his list of the 16 of greatest wines he had ever tasted.The story of Marquis de Terme begins in 1762, when Mademoiselle Ledoux d'Emplet married François de Peguilhan Marquis de Terme, giving her the estate that would come to bear her name as a dowry. Ideally located in the heart of the Margaux appellation with heavy influences from both the Gironde estuary and the Bay of Biscay, and protected by coastal pine forests from the harsh winds creates the perfect growing conditions for their vines. Organic farming was started on a small parcel of vines, the first organic wine coming from the 2013 vintage.The estate now farms all vineyards organically and achieved organic certification in 2017.
Château La Tour Carnet, St.-Laurent
Located in St. Laurent in the Médoc area, Château La Tour Carnet started in the 11th century, in fact this Châteaux is one of the oldest in the region. The current owner of this 311-acre-vineyard is Bernard Magrez. Today, this Chateau also offers impressive wine tourism, where you can have a truly medieval experience.Their Second Wine Label is called Les Douves du Château La Tour Carnet.
Château Lafon-Rochet, St.-Estèphe
Chateau Lafon-Roche has a long history and tradition dating back to the 17th century. Since 1960 this property, located in the Médoc region in the Saint-Estèphe appellation, has been owned by the Tesseron family. The Tesseron family is famed for their Cognac, but also owns and manages Chateau Pontet Canet. This traditionalist Châteaux has recently been modernized and opened its doors to all wine lovers who want to visit. Basile Tesseron is the current director and states that: "Making fine wines is not a job, it's a life-long commitment". They also produce a young, fresh and friendly Second Wine Label called Les Pèlerins de Lafon-Rochet.
Today, the Bordeaux 1855 Classification continues to be considered the gold standard reference for wines in this region. It is undoubtedly one of the most important, controversial and exotic in the world. There are many Chateaux in each of the appellations of this magnificent region, but this classification certainly makes selecting the right wine easier.
We invite you to read about the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th Growth.