Distinguish Appellation from Classification in Bordeaux
Appellation refers to typicity
Classification refers quality
Describe Bordeaux's Commercial history
Wine was intended for export, not internal consumption
British: Best, Domestic consumption, Purchased Graves and Medoc
Dutch: Inexpensive, Worldwide consumption, Purchased Palus
What was the "Dutch wick" and what purpose did it serve?
Paper coated with sulfur was lit and dropped into barrel
Barrels lasted longer
What was the Bordeaux Jurade?
City council who oversaw the Bordeaux marketplace
Their price list of 1647-10-27 illustrates Dutch demand:
Graves/Medoc wine was 26 ecus
Palus: 30 to 35 ecus
Describe the British wine market
16C: Sufficient to specify "Graves"
17C: French brought in Dutch to reclaim land north of Bordeaux City (rise of Medoc)
18C: rise of communes
1740s: Haut-Brion, Margaux, Latour, Lafite (known as first growths)
Describe the pricing structure in mid-18C Bordeaux
Based on Supply and Demand
Driven by British market
First growths: owned by wealthy nobility
Second growths: owned by lesser nobles (Durfort, Leoville, Gruaud)
Crus Bourgeois: owned by the middle class
Name some early classifications of Bordeaux wine
1787 Thomas Jefferson
1813 William Johnston (negotiant)
1816 Andre Jullien (11 classed growths in 2 levels)
1824 William Franck (33 classed growths in 4 levels)
1833 J. Exshaw (54 classed growths in 5 levels; 29 classed sweet whites in 3 levels)
1850 Charles Cocks (63 classed growths in 5 levels; 34 sweet whites in 3 levels - the bible of Bordeaux wine)
1855 - Armand d'Armailhacq (62 classed growths in 5 levels)
Name the criteria for Bordeaux wine classifications
Sales price: basis of over 2 dozen classifications
Indirectly related to terroir
Describe the 1787 Jefferson Classification ("Transcription")
Thomas Jefferson recorded 16 classed growths in Bordeaux
Now third growth: Calon, Mouton, Lagrange, Langoa, d'Issan
Crus Bourgeois pushed down a level
Describe the 1813 William Johnston Classification
29 classed growths
Second growths enlarged: Lascombes, Brane, Mouton (moving up)
Third growths enlarged: Kirwan, Malescot, Pichon Longueville, Ducru
Fourth growths: Beychevelle, Saint-Pierre, Pouget
What involvement did Napoleon II have in the 1855 Classification?
The Universal Exposition in Paris was organized on his orders in March 1853
He never even saw the display of Bordeaux wines (in an annex to the main exhibition hall)
What was the occasion of the classification?
1855 World's Fair (Universal Exposition in Paris)
Luxury goods and technical developments were intended for display
Bordeaux wine was considered neither (a substitute for water)
What prompted Bordeaux to participate in the world's fair?
The Burgundy Organizing Committee sent Bordeaux a letter asking if they wanted to have a joint display
The Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce was more closely connected to the wine trade and became the main mover in the creation of the 1855 classification
Describe the actions taken by the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce in 1855
January: Solicited 6 bottles from any Bordeaux property (not just classed which they "undressed" with a uniform label. Lodi-Martin Duffour-Dubergier (head of Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce) thought displaying identical bottles would not be interesting so he commissioned a large scale map of Bordeaux.
April 5: Requested a list of Bordeaux's best red and white wines from the Union of Brokers
April 18: Union of Brokers submitted their list ranked by price within each level (5 levels Medoc, 3 levels Sauternes)
May 1: sent to Paris (so only 4 months to get ready)
How did the Union of Brokers create their list?
Well-known classification based on sales transactions
Commercial reputation established over many decades
No request for wines
Properties which did not send wines to Paris were included