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Ten most searched-for wine names*
  • 1. Dom Perignon2. Petrus3. Pin4. Montrose5. Cristal
  • 6. Talbot7. Angelus8. Belgrave9. Krug10. Palmer
*in the last 3 months, courtesy of a very popular search engine

Bordeaux Explained

1855 and all that…

In 1855, the recently crowned Emperor of France Napoleon III authorised the staging of a huge exhibition in Paris intended to rival the great English exhibitions of previous years (such as Crystal Palace 1851), with the ultimate intention of boosting international trade. This showcase of the best of French produce included the wines of Bordeaux, which were to be classified into five groups in order of quality. The classification, however, was actually based by contemporary brokers on the reputation of each Chateau and the trading price of their wines at the time.

The five groups are named crus or growths, from premiers (first) to cinquiemes (fifth), and are restricted to Chateaux from the Left Bank of the Gironde, the estuary within Bordeaux. Although there have been classifications of wines from different areas (Graves, St. Emilion), it is the 1855 which has come to dominate over the years.


Also – confusingly – it is possible that wines from many different Chateaux both within and outside of this classification will show financial return. However, it is generally considered prudent to concentrate on obtaining the best vintages of the following wines:

First Growths from the 1855 classification

The top wines from the 1855 classification (Mouton Rothschild re-classified 1973), these five chateaux are amongst the most recognisable and in-demand names in the world of fine wine investment.

  • Haut Brion
  • Lafite Rothschild
  • Latour
  • Margaux
  • Mouton Rothschild

Other First Grade Bordeaux

A select number of Chateaux from the St. Emilion, Pomerol and Graves regions which were not included in the 1855 classification, yet are held in the same regard as the classified First Growths. These include:

  • Ausone
  • Petrus
  • Cheval Blanc
  • Le Pin
  • Lafleur
  • La Mission Haut Brion

Super-Second Growths

Super-Second Growth is an umbrella term in the wine trade understood to encompass extremely highly regarded wines from other ranks of the 1855 classification, as well as certain right-bank Chateaux not considered for the 1855 exhibition and as such “unclassified”, which include, but are not restricted to:

  • Angelus
  • Calon Segur
  • Clinet
  • Cos d’Estournel
  • Ducru Beaucaillou
  • Eglise Clinet
  • Evangile
  • Figeac
  • Grand Puy Lacoste
  • La Clusiere
  • La Conseillante
  • Larcis Ducasse
  • Leoville Barton
  • Leoville Las Cases
  • Leoville Poyferre
  • Lynch-Bages
  • Montrose
  • Palmer
  • Pavie
  • Pichon Baron
  • Pichon Lalande
  • Tertre Roteboeuf
  • Troplong Mondot
  • Trotanoy
  • Valandraud
  • Vieux Chateau Certan
  • Yquem