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The 1855 Classification of Bordeaux

The 1855 classification system was the first official classification in the history of Bordeaux wine. The Médoc classification system was created by Bordeaux’s wine brokers for the Paris Exposition Universelle as requested by Napaleon III. At the time, most chateaux in the region were not classified—making it difficult for consumers to find good wine. The 1855 Bordeaux classification ranked the top 58 estates in the Medoc (plus Haut-Brion from Graves) into five levels of Classified Growths based on price, reflecting each wine’s quality and demand.

Despite its age, the classification is still used as a reference guide, although some châteaux have developed their reputation and popularity since. Over the years only one Château has moved to a higher classification, when after years of trying to prove its worth, Mouton Rothschild was promoted to first growth in 1973. 

The First Growths (1er Cru Classé)

There were only a handful of First Growths—or Premier Crus—in 1855, but they immediately established themselves as the highest quality wines in the region. They’re considered the finest and best wines in the Bordeaux region. 

  • Château Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac
  • Château Latour, Pauillac
  • Château Margaux, Margaux
  • Château Haut-Brion, Graves
  • Château Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac (reclassified from Second Growth status in 1973)

The Second Growths (2ème Cru Classé)

The Second Growth wines are also referred to as Deuxièmes Crus or Haut-Crus. These wines were created to fit the First Growths and the other Bordeaux wines and are considered essential chateaux and the best non-First Growths in the region.

  • Chateau Rauzan-Segla, Margaux
  • Chateau Rauzan-Gassies, Margaux
  • Chateau Leoville-Las Cases, St-Julien
  • Chateau Leoville-Poyferre, St-Julien
  • Chateau Leoville-Barton, St-Julien
  • Chateau Durfort-Vivens, Margaux
  • Chateau Gruaud-Larose, St-Julien
  • Chateau Lascombes, Margaux
  • Chateau Brane-Cantenac, Margaux
  • Chateau Pichon Longueville Baron, Pauillac
  • Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac
  • Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou, St-Julien
  • Chateau Cos d’Estournel, St-Estèphe
  • Chateau Montrose, St-Estèphe

The Third Growths (3ème Cru Classé)

The Third Growth wines were created to fill the gap between the Second Growths and the other Bordeaux wines. They’re still considered to be very high quality and expensive.

  • Chateau Kirwan, Margaux
  • Chateau d’Issan, Margaux
  • Chateau Lagrange, St-Julien
  • Chateau Langoa Barton, St-Julien
  • Chateau Giscours, Margaux
  • Chateau Malescot St Exupery, Margaux
  • Chateau Cantenac Brown, Margaux
  • Chateau Boyd-Cantenac, Margaux
  • Chateau Palmer, Margaux
  • Chateau La Lagune, Haut-Medoc
  • Chateau Desmirail, Margaux
  • Chateau Dubignon, Margaux
  • Chateau Calon-Segur, St-Estèphe
  • Chateau Ferrière, Margaux
  • Chateau Marquis d’Alesme Becker, Margaux

The Fourth Growths (4ème Cru Classé)

The Fourth Growths are sometimes referred to as Quatrièmes Crûs. They’re actually the most common Bordeaux wines in terms of numbers. 

  • Chateau Saint-Pierre, St-Julien
  • Chateau Talbot, St-Julien
  • Chateau Branaire-Ducru, St-Julien
  • Chateau Duhart-Milon, Pauillac
  • Chateau Pouget, Margaux
  • Chateau La Tour Carnet, Haut-Medoc
  • Chateau Lafon-Rochet, St-Estèphe
  • Chateau Beychevelle, St-Julien
  • Chateau Prieure-Lichine, Margaux
  • Chateau Marquis de Terme, Margaux

The Fifth Growth Chateaux (5ème Cru Classé)

The Fifth Growths, or Cinquièmes Crûs, are the lowest ranking. 

  • Chateau Pontet-Canet, Pauillac
  • Chateau Batailley, Pauillac
  • Chateau Haut-Batailley, Pauillac
  • Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Pauillac
  • Chateau Grand-Puy-Ducasse, Pauillac
  • Chateau Lynch-Bages, Pauillac
  • Chateau Lynch-Moussas, Pauillac
  • Chateau Dauzac, Margaux
  • Chateau d’Armailhac, Pauillac
  • Chateau du Tertre, Margaux
  • Chateau Haut-Bages-Liberal, Pauillac
  • Chateau Pedesclaux, Pauillac
  • Chateau Belgrave, Haut-Medoc
  • Chateau de Camensac, Haut-Medoc
  • Chateau Cos Labory, St-Estèphe
  • Chateau Clerc-Milon, Pauillac
  • Chateau Croizet Bages, Pauillac
  • Chateau Cantemerle, Haut-Medoc [added in 1856]
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