As its name suggests, the 1855 classification was established in 1855 at the request of the new Emperor Napoleon III for the Universal Exhibition in Paris. The purpose of this exhibition was to bring together all the products that are the pride of France (with champagnes and Burgundy wines). Thus, Napoleon III asked the brokers of Bordeaux to draw up a complete list of all the great red wines and the great white wines.
Since Bordeaux brokers had been in the habit for a long time, since the end of the 18th century, of establishing classifications for the white and red wines of the Gironde, their skills were called upon. On what did they establish their hierarchy? On the market! The market was always right since it was based on demand, which essentially depended on quality.
This is how the 1855 classification was established. The brokers selected around sixty red wines from the prices recorded on the market for several decades, and classified them, according to their customs, into 5 categories: from â€śfirst classified growthsâ€ť to â€śfifth classified growthsâ€ť. For many political reasons, all classified red wines were MĂ©doc wines: the only exception – ChĂ˘teau Haut-Brion. The white wines were sweet wines from Sauternes and Barsac. In all, 60 red wines are classified and 27 whites.
It was therefore The Classification of the Universal Exhibition of 1855 only. No one imagined at the time that it was going to become a certain â€śbirth certificateâ€ť of these exceptional wines.
The particularity of this classification is that it is irreversible, thus all the classified chateaus have been so since 1855. The only exception being ChĂ˘teau Cantemerle, forgotten, then quickly added, and ChĂ˘teau Mouton Rothschild which in 1973 managed to go from second to Premier Cru.
For a hundred and fifty years, the sixty classified growths have remained faithful to a certain requirement, without which they would have discredited the Classification. However, many things have evolved since then: some vineyards have changed their borders, the grape varieties have evolved, many owner families have sold to banks or insurance companies, the market has corrected certain prices… Despite this, the Classification remains untouchable. And even if the criticism of the Classification has long been the favorite sport of many wine experts, paradoxically these assaults make it even stronger than ever.
After all these centuries, the 1855 Classification and all the wines that make it up are of vital importance in Bordeaux and in the world.
ChĂ˘teau Lafite-Rothschild, pauillac ChĂ˘teau Latour, pauillac ChĂ˘teau Margaux, margaux ChĂ˘teau Mouton Rothschild, pauillac ChĂ˘teau Haut-Brion, pessac-lĂ©ognan, graves
ChĂ˘teau Rauzan-Gassies, margaux ChĂ˘teau Rauzan-SĂ©gla, margaux ChĂ˘teau LĂ©oville Barton, saint-julien ChĂ˘teau LĂ©oville Las Cases, saint-julien ChĂ˘teau LĂ©oville PoyferrĂ©, saint-julien ChĂ˘teau Durfort-Vivens, margaux ChĂ˘teau Gruaud Larose, saint-julien ChĂ˘teau Lascombes, margaux ChĂ˘teau Brane-Cantenac, margaux ChĂ˘teau Pichon-Longueville, pauillac ChĂ˘teau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, pauillac ChĂ˘teau Ducru-Beaucaillou, saint-julien ChĂ˘teau Cos d’Estournel, saint-estĂ¨phe ChĂ˘teau Montrose, saint-estĂ¨phe
ChĂ˘teau Kirwan, margaux ChĂ˘teau d’Issan, margaux ChĂ˘teau Lagrange, saint-julien ChĂ˘teau Langoa Barton, saint-julien ChĂ˘teau Giscours, margaux ChĂ˘teau Malescot St. ExupĂ©ry, margaux ChĂ˘teau Boyd-Cantenac, margaux ChĂ˘teau Cantenac Brown, margaux ChĂ˘teau Palmer, margaux ChĂ˘teau La Lagune, haut-mĂ©doc ChĂ˘teau Desmirail, margaux ChĂ˘teau Calon-SĂ©gur, saint-estĂ¨phe ChĂ˘teau FerriĂ¨re, margaux ChĂ˘teau Marquis d’Alesme Becker, margaux
ChĂ˘teau Saint-Pierre, saint-julien ChĂ˘teau Talbot, saint-julien ChĂ˘teau Branaire-Ducru, saint-julien ChĂ˘teau Duhart-Milon, pauillac ChĂ˘teau Pouget, margaux ChĂ˘teau La Tour Carnet, haut-mĂ©doc ChĂ˘teau Lafon-Rochet, saint-estĂ¨phe ChĂ˘teau Beychevelle, saint-julien ChĂ˘teau PrieurĂ©-Lichine, margaux ChĂ˘teau Marquis de Terme, margaux
ChĂ˘teau Pontet-Canet, pauillac ChĂ˘teau Batailley, pauillac ChĂ˘teau Haut-Batailley, pauillac ChĂ˘teau Grand-Puy-Lacoste, pauillac ChĂ˘teau Grand-Puy Ducasse, pauillac ChĂ˘teau Lynch-Bages, pauillac ChĂ˘teau Lynch-Moussas, pauillac ChĂ˘teau Dauzac, margaux ChĂ˘teau d’Armailhac, pauillac ChĂ˘teau du Tertre, margaux ChĂ˘teau Haut-Bages LibĂ©ral, pauillac ChĂ˘teau PĂ©desclaux, pauillac ChĂ˘teau Belgrave, haut-mĂ©doc ChĂ˘teau de Camensac, haut-mĂ©doc ChĂ˘teau Cos Labory, saint-estĂ¨phe ChĂ˘teau Clerc-Milon, pauillac ChĂ˘teau Croizet-Bages, pauillac ChĂ˘teau Cantemerle, entrĂ© dans le classement en 1856, haut-mĂ©doc
ChĂ˘teau d’Yquem, sauternes
ChĂ˘teau La Tour Blanche, sauternes ChĂ˘teau Lafaurie-Peyraguey, sauternes Clos Haut-Peyraguey, sauternes ChĂ˘teau de Rayne-Vigneau, sauternes ChĂ˘teau Suduiraut, sauternes ChĂ˘teau Coutet, barsac ChĂ˘teau Climens, barsac ChĂ˘teau Guiraud, sauternes ChĂ˘teau Rieussec, sauternes ChĂ˘teau Rabaud-Promis, sauternes ChĂ˘teau Sigalas-Rabaud, sauternes
ChĂ˘teau Myrat, barsac ChĂ˘teau Doisy DaĂ«ne, barsac ChĂ˘teau Doisy-Dubroca, barsac ChĂ˘teau Doisy-VĂ©drines, barsac ChĂ˘teau d’Arche, sauternes ChĂ˘teau Filhot, sauternes ChĂ˘teau Broustet, barsac ChĂ˘teau Nairac, barsac ChĂ˘teau Caillou, barsac ChĂ˘teau Suau, barsac ChĂ˘teau de Malle, sauternes ChĂ˘teau Romer, sauternes ChĂ˘teau Romer du Hayot, sauternes ChĂ˘teau Lamothe, sauternes ChĂ˘teau Lamothe Guignard, sauternes
If you want to learn more about the 1855 Classification, you can make a private wine tour and follow the Road of Classified Growths of Bordeaux here. Or here: Bordeaux-Star-Tours.