The Bordeaux Classifications
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Name the Bordeaux Classifications
- Cru Bourgeois (no longer a classification)
- Cru Artisan
Are the Bordeaux Classifications comparable?
- They are not directly comparable
- They are indirectly related
Are classification and appellation linked?
Only in Saint-Emilion
What is the only Bordeaux classification to include dry white wines?
How many levels does the Graves Classification have
1 - all properties are equal, listed alphabetically
Does the Graves Classification include properties outside Pessac-Leognan?
No. The classification gave rise to the creation of Pessac-Leognan in 1987.
What sparked the Graves Classification?
- A century after 1855 a classification mania seized Bordeaux
- Graves had achieved commercial parity with the Medoc
- The 1855 classification would not change so they created their own
When was the Graves Classification made?
- 1953: initial classification (12 chateaux)
- 1959: revised and became definitive (15 chateaux)
- Never officially revised but unofficially changed (14 chateaux)
What 2 red properties in the initial Graves Classification added their whites in the definitive classification?
Why has the Graves classification unofficially changed?
- Haut-Brion aquisitions/decisions removed 2 reds and 1 white from production
- Andre Lurton aquisitions/decision added 1 white
Name the Graves classification unofficial changes
- 1970: Andre Lurton bought part of the Couhins (W) vineyards from INRA
- 1992: Andre Lurton bought the Couhins Chateau, creating Couhins-Lurton (W)
- 1983: Haut-Brion acquired La Mission Haut-Brion (R), La Tour Haut-Brion (R), and Laville Haut-Brion (W)
- 2006: Haut-Brion incorporated the La Tour vineyard into La Mission to give La Mission a second label (La Chapelle de La Mission Haut-Brion)
- 2009: Laville was converted to making La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc
What is INRA?
- l’Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique
- French National Institute for Agricultural Research
Name a second label dry white white from Chateau Haut-Brion
- La Clarte de Haut-Brion (known as Les Plantiers du Haut-Brion before 2009)
- Combines plots from Haut-Brion Blanc and La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc
- Mainly Semillon
How many Chateaux are in the Graves Classification? (1953, 1959, today)
- Reds only: 7, -2+2=7, -1=6
- White only: 1, +1=2, -1+1=2
- Red and White: 4, +2=6, 6
What was Haut-Brion white not included in the Graves Classification?
Haut-Brion asked that it not be considered because of low production
What is the only property to appear in 2 Bordeaux Classifications?
Haut-Brion (red) is in the 1855 and Graves Classifications
What sparked the Saint-Emilion Classification?
- Saint-Emilion had achieved commercial parity with the Medoc
- 1952: Saint-Emilion asked INAO to undertake classification
- 1955: INAO announced the classification
- 1958: The classification became official
What 5 factors does the Saint-Emilion Classification include?
- Sales price
- Commercial reputation
- Winemaking installation
How important is each factor in Saint-Emilion classification?
- 35% Commercial reputation
- 30% Terroir
- 30% Tasting of 15 vintages and aging potential
- 5% Viticultural and vinicultural practices
- Premier Grand Cru Classe if 16/20 or better
How often is the Saint-Emilion Classification revised?
Every 10 years (but 1979 skipped, 2012 moved up, 2022 is next)
How many classed growths are in Saint-Emilion?
- 1958: 75 = 2 + 10 + 63 (Ausone and Cheval Blanc are A)
- 1969: 84 = 2 + 10 + 72
- 1979: Skipped
- 1986: 74 = 2 + 9 + 63
- 1996: 68 = 2 + 11 + 55 (Beau-Séjour Bécot reclaimed B, Angélus to B)
- 2006: 61 = 2 + 13 + 46
- 2012: 82 = 4 + 14 + 64 (Angélus and Pavie to A, Valandraud directly to B)
- 2022: Next Revision
Describe the Saint-Emilion 2006 Classification Annulment
- 2007-04-18: 4 demoted properties sued and 2006 classification suspended
- 2007-11-12: 2006 classification restored on appeal
- 2008-07-01: 2006 classification annulled (so no classification at all)
- 2008-07-10: 1996 classification is restored
- 2009-05-12: Added properties promoted and demoted in 2006
Who reviews the Saint-Emilion Classification?
- Before 2006: INAO president, 2 brokers, 1 oenologist, 3 UoB faculty, 1 legal
- 2012: the commission now has 7 members
Name the 3 levels of the Saint-Emilion classification
- Premier Grand Cru Classe A
- Premier Grand Cru Classe B
- Grand Cru Classe
How many properties may be included in the Saint-Emilion classification?
Originally 100 but no longer a limit
Are the Saint-Emilion classification levels also AOCs?
- Not exactly. On 1954-10-07, 3 appellations were created:
- Saint-Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classe (no longer an AOC)
- Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Classe (no longer an AOC)
- Saint-Emilion Grand Cru (classed growths are now this AOC)
Why was the 1979 revision to the Saint-Emilion classification cancelled?
- The exclusionary spirit of classification was contrary to the inclusionary spirit of appellation
- In 1986, the solution was to introduce the Saint-Emilion AOC which together with the Saint-Emilion Grand Cru AOC can be declared at each vintage by every winemaker in Saint Emilion. To be considered for classed growth status, a property must have declared the Saint-Emilion Grand Cru AOC for 8 of the previous 10 vintages.
What is the difference between the Saint-Emilion and Saint-Emilion Grand Cru AOCs?
- Saint-Emilion AOC: 45 hl/ha yield, min 10.5% alcohol
- Saint-Emilion Grand Cru AOC: 40 hl/ha yield, min 11% alcohol, supplemental tasting
Which Bordeaux classifications were annulled?
- 2006 Saint-Emilion
- Cru Bourgeois
What sparked the Cru Bourgeois Classification?
In the 1930s it was hard to sell wine without a classification
When was the Cru Bourgeois Classification made?
1932: Organized by the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce and the Gironde Chamber of Agriculture (never approved by the Ministry)
How many properties were included in the 1932 Cru Bourgeois classification?
444 Medoc properties
Name the 3 levels of the 1932 Cru Bourgeois classification
- Cru Bourgeois Superieur Exceptionnel: 6
- Cru Bourgeois Superieur: 99
- Cru Bourgeois: 339
- Total: 444
Name the 3 levels of the 2003 Cru Bourgeois classification
- Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel: 9 (NOT Superieur Exceptionnel)
- Cru Bourgeois Superieur: 87
- Cru Bourgeois: 151
- Total: 247 (half of the 490 that applied)
Describe the history of the Cru Bourgeois classification
- 1962: Created the Union of Medoc Crus Bourgeois (changed name to the Alliance of Medoc Crus Bourgeois in 2004)
- 1979: EU only permitted "Cru Bourgeois" on the label
- 2000: France passed law to create a Cru Bourgeois classification (490 properties applied)
- 2003: New (first official) classification announced at Vinexpo
- 2003: 78 producers took legal action (since some judges were also the judged) and the classification died
- 2010: Cru Bourgeois label (a recognition of quality - not a classification) created
Describe the 2010 Cru Bourgeois label
- The label is attributed to a property on a yearly basis
- 243 accepted of 290 applied in the 2008 vintage (first to use the label)
How often was the Cru Bourgeois Classification revised?
- Every 10 years (some sources say every 12 years)
- The Cru Bourgeois label is reappraised every year
What 5 factors does the Cru Bourgeois Classification include?
Same as Saint-Emilion Classification
Who reviewed the Cru Bourgeois Classification?
18 eminent wine professionals (including 3 wine owners... "fatal flaw")
Describe the Cru Artisan
- Term dates back to 19C
- Skilled individuals who also own vineyards
- Vineyards just big enough (1-5 ha) to be tended after their "day job"
- Work done by owner, family, and pieceworkers
- Basic winemaking equipment
Describe the Cru Artisan Classification
- 1930s: largely abandoned
- 1989: Union of Medoc Cru Artisans resurrect the designation
- (Union's charter said wine must receive oak aging)
- 1994: Cru Artisan officially recognized by EU
- End of 1990s: 64 (of 330 eligible) properties were members of the Union of Medoc Cru Artisans
- 2006: Classification published and only 44 of the Union members were recognized as Cru Artisans
- Scheduled for revision every 10 years
Why is there no classification of Pomerol wines?
- The winemakers didn't want one because they never had a problem selling their wine
- They had more to lose than to gain from a classification
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