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The 1855 classification of the wines of the Medoc in Bordeaux was the brainchild of Napoleon III. He ordered this classification to be presented at the Exposition Universelle de Paris which was intended to showcase “all that was France” at the time. The business of classifying the wines was left up to the local brokers of the era who took it upon themselves to base the 5 tiered hierarchy on price at the time which, if revised today would certainly raise a few eyebrows.

The 1855 classification, although it started as a novel idea, has stood the test of time even against the beliefs of some of the most influential critics and wine professionals of the past centuries. The only two exceptions to the rules were;

•Haut Brion (not to be confused with La Mission Haut Brion) which is situated in Graves not the Medoc - this indicates that Haut Brion was well respected and certainly highly priced during the 19th century!

•Mouton Rothschild - Philippe de Rothschild, proprietor of this grand estate during much of the 20th century, regarded Mouton's ranking as a deuxième cru as a "monstrous injustice".

For years the labels stated simply Premier ne puis, second ne daigne, Mouton suis, or 'First I cannot be, second I do not deign to be, I am Mouton".

It was clear from the great vintages of Mouton produced in the 1860s and 1870s that the 1855 classification was already outdated, and that change was overdue. But no such review of this classification has ever been intended, and it was only thanks to the tireless campaigning of Philippe that Jacques Chirac, then Minister of Agriculture, passed a decree conferring the status of Premier Grand Cru Classé upon Mouton-Rothschild in 1973. At last this apparent wrong had been righted, and from then on Mouton's labels bore a new inscription, “Premier je suis, second je fus. Mouton ne change, or First I am, second I was. Mouton does not change.”

In conclusion, the 1855 classification did, and still does make a huge difference in the pricing of the wines and to people’s perception of quality. Today, significance and branding have become a major factor in the world of fine wine and cannot be ignored when planning an investment, these trends can and do change so it is always best to ask a professional for advice when building a portfolio.

First Growths

Ch. Lafite-Rothschild Pauillac Pauillac

Ch. Margaux Margaux Margaux

Ch. Latour Pauillac Pauillac

Ch. Haut-Brion Pessac Pessac-Leognan

Ch. Mouton-Rothschild Pauillac Pauillac

Second Growths

Ch. Rauzan-Segla Margaux Margaux

Ch. Rauzan-Gassies Margaux Margaux

Ch. Leoville-Las-Cases St-Julien St-Julien

Ch. Leoville-Poyferre St-Julien St-Julien

Ch. Leoville-Barton St-Julien St-Julien

Ch. Durfort-Vivens Margaux Margaux

Ch. Gruard-Larose St-Julien St-Julien

Ch. Lascombes Margaux Margaux

Ch. Brane-Cantenac Cantenac Margaux

Ch. Pichon-Longueville (Baron) Pauillac Margaux

Ch. Pichon-Longueville Comtesses de Lalande Pauillac Pauillac

Ch. Ducru-Beaucaillou St-Julien St-Julien

Ch. Montrose St-Estephe St-Estephe

Ch. Cos d'Estournel St-Estephe St-Estephe

Third Growths

Ch. Kirwan Cantenac Margaux

Ch. d'Issan Cantenac Margaux

Ch. Lagrange St-Julien St-Julien

Ch. Langoa-Barton St-Julien St-Julien

Ch. Giscours Labarde Margaux

Ch. Malescot St-Exupery Margaux Margaux

Ch. Boyd-Cantenac Cantenac Margaux

Ch. Cantenac-Brown Cantenac Margaux

Ch. Palmer Cantenac Margaux

Ch. La Lagune Ludon Haut-Medoc

Ch. Desmirail Margaux Margaux

Ch. Calon-Segur St-Estephe St-Estephe

Ch. Ferriere Margaux Margaux

Ch. Marquis d'Alesme Becker Margaux Margaux

Fourth Growths

Ch. St-Pierre St-Julien St-Julien

Ch. Talbot St-Julien St-Julien

Ch. Branaire-DucruSt-Julien St-Julien

Ch. Duhart-Milon-Rothschild Pauillac Pauillac

Ch. Pouget Cantenac Margaux

Ch. La Tour-Carnet St-Laurent Haut-Medoc

Ch. Lafon-Rochet St-Estephe St-Estephe

Ch. Beychevelle St-Julien St-Julien

Ch. Prieure-Lichine Cantenac Margaux

Ch. Marquis-de-Terme Margaux Margaux

Fifth Growths

Ch. Pontet Canet Pauillac Pauillac

Ch. Batailley Pauillac Pauillac

Ch. Haut-Batailley Pauillac Pauillac

Ch. Grand Puy Lacoste Pauillac Pauillac

Ch. Grand Puy Ducasse Pauillac Pauillac

Ch. Lynch-Bages Pauillac Pauillac

Ch. Lynch-Moussas Pauillac Pauillac

Ch. Dauzac Labarde Margaux

Ch. d'Armailhac Pauillac Pauillac

Ch. du Tertre Arsac Margaux

Ch. Haut-Bages-Liberal Pauillac Pauillac

Ch. Pedesclaux Pauillac Pauillac

Ch. Belgrave St-Laurent Haut-Medoc

Ch. de Camensac St-Laurent Haut-Medoc

Ch. Cos-Labory St-Estephe St-Estephe

Ch. Clerc-Milon Pauillac Pauillac

Ch. Croizet-Bages Pauillac Pauillac

Ch. Cantermerle Macau Haut-Medoc

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