The world of Big reds and lusciously sweet wine.


Bordeaux is located South west France.


The fine wine produced here from Bordeaux first growths and Grand Cru Classes can sells for over 1,000 per bottle.


Bordeaux is a big player in the world of fine wine crafting age worthy wine from Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. 


There is more Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon planted in South West a France then anywhere else in the world. 


Most Bordeaux wine is sold "en Primeur" meaning the wine is still in the barrel. This allows cash flow for the winery. 


By volume, Bordeaux produces the most AOC wine


Bordeaux is kind of a big deal within the wine world, scroll down or the click the links above to navigate yourself around the page. 



Ancient History

Romans introduced the vine to Bordeaux 


310-393 AD 

Bordeaux native Ausonius was a poet and scholar, spread the word about Bordeaux wine. Chateau Ausone is named after him.



Bordeaux was invaded over and over again my several different tribes. 


1152 - First Golden Age


Highly significant marriage within European history

Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine married Henry Plantagenet Count of Anjou. 

Henry became King Henry II of England and Duke of Normandy. 


England had control of areas within Southwest France such as Gascony, Aquitaine which covers several departments such as Dordogne, Garonne, Landes, Lot-et-Garonne and Pyrenees-Altantiques 


The connection France and England had together created a strong trade between countries. The wine industry within Bordeaux flourished. 


England was predominately Catholic, wine was needed for mass. 

Bordeaux essentially became England's vineyard. 


Transport was also relatively easy for this region as it is located near the Atlantic Ocean. 



In 1453 France banished the English and claimed back Bordeaux 



New market 

The Dutch became highly interested in Bordeaux wine. 


The Dutch wanted

  • White wine to distill into eau de vie "water of life"

  • Sweet white wine


Bordeaux responded to demand and shifted production accordingly. 


1700s Second Golden Age

Bordeaux's wine market expanded, wine was not only of the English anymore. New trade with other countries was initiated. 


Wealthy wine merchants profiting during this period built massive, luxurious Chateaux with surrounding vineyards



The French Revolution


Unlike in Burgundy, Bordeaux vineyards were not run by the Churches. There was no fractionalisation of the vineyards. 


Most wine estates were owned privately, the revolution effected the Merchants and especially the Foreign Merchants. Wine trade came to a halt as the Port was avoided due to fear of the conflict with the revolutionary France.  



Trade began to pick up again for Bordeaux. 

Railroad enabled transport of wine to inland France



Reconnecting with England

Napoleon III took over France and rebuilt it's relationship with Enlgand


Just as trade began to pick up, a series of vineyard pests destroyed vines throughout the region



Powdery mildew 




Downy mildew



57 AOCs were established to regulate and classify the wines of the region.



Deep freeze killed 1/4 of all the vines in Bordeaux. The land was replanted with red grapes 


1982- 3rd Golden Age

Thanks to the great vintage of 1982 and the review given to the wine by Mr Robert. Bordeaux captured the attention of the wine world. 



The town of St. Emilion became a UNESCO "world heritage site"



The city of Bordeaux became a UNESCO "world heritage site"


Every second year Vinexpo, the largest wine fair in the world takes place here. 


Bordeaux is reigns supreme within France, this region has the greatest % of large wine estates. Produces most of Frances fine wine and 1/4 of all AOC wine in France. 

Napoleon III



Bordeaux is located in Southwest France


100km North to South


125km East to West


Almost  5 times the size of a Burgundy 


To the west of the region is the Atlantic Ocean 


Bordeaux lies within the French region Aquitaine 



Climate is Maritime 


The Atlantic Gulf Stream - Warms and regulates temperatures 


Les Landes - Europe's largest man made forest. A million hectares of pine forest is located of the Western side of Bordeaux. The forest acts as a shield and protects the region from ocean winds and storms. 


Gironde Estuary - Several rivers flow through the region and empty into the Gironde Estuary. The large bodies of water help to keep temperatures consistent. The river come into the region for approx 120km. 


The sub region named "Entre-Deux-Mers" is located in between 2 of these rivers 

The Dordogne and Garonne rivers.




Rainy and frost becomes a risk to vines. A severe frost can massively reduce yields.



Weather is warm and the sun is shining. 

Oceanic influences being cloud cover. 

Grapes struggle to ripen, and even in their best vintages they never reach he same ripeness level are warmer climates.

Bordeaux wines are not fruit forward, the aromas are leather, cigar box, tobacco, cocoa, herb, tea, graphite etc 



In some years their is rain and  following the rain is humidity and then rot. 

Rain risks

The roots will also suck up the water and translocate it to grapes, this will dilute the flavour and result un concentrated flavours with little structure.

Yields are at risk depending on the severity of the rain. 

Rot risk

Has the potential to ruin a crop 



Mild, temperatures can drop significantly. 

In 1956 winter freeze destroyed a 1/4 of all vineyards in Bordeaux. Malbec  lost 1/3 of it's acreage and was never re-planted, since the change a lot less Malbec is in the blend. 



The soil and terroir will determine what grape is planted. 


In Bordeaux the soils are we categorised into warm and cold


Warm soils - Gravel and Sand

Gravel and sand is warmed by the sun, the soil radiates heat back into the vine canopy and help to ripen the grapes by keeping temperatures above 10 degrees, the minimum temperature required for photosynthesis. 


Gravel soil

Flavour profile - firm tannins and structure 


Sandy soil 

Flavour profile - easy drinking soft and fruit forward wine 


Cold soils - Clay and Limestone

Soils are dense and retain moisture. They do not contribute to the ripening process


Clay (iron rich) 

Flavour profile - prune and walnuts



Flavour profile - Pronounced acidity, lean and polished tannins 

Grape Varieties 


White varieties


Semillon, most widely planted white variety comprises  55% 

Sauvignon Blanc, 34% white plantings

Muscadelle, 7% of white plantings


Secondary grapes, 4% of white plantings

Ugni Blanc


Merlot Blanc

Folle Blanche




The white varieties are NOT site specific 


Bordeaux grows the most Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon world wide


Red varieties


Merlot, most widely red variety, 60% of red planting


Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% of red plantings


Cabernet Franc, compromises 12% of red plantings


Malbec (Cot) - small component of the blend. After the brutal winter freeze in 1956 1/3 of all vines were destroyed and re-planted with Merlot.


Petit Verdot - small component of the blend. Global warming has enables the vine to ripen the fruit more consistently 


Carmenere - small component of the blend. This variety is susceptible to mildews. 

Wine making  


Dry White Wine Production 


The world of Bordeaux White wine is changing, previously the white wine was mineral driven.

The copper-sulfate sprays used in Bordeaux to fight against molds and mildews were reacting with aroma pre-cursors and robbing Sauvignon Blanc of it's aromatics. This problem has been effectively eliminated by timing when the vineyards are sprayed, Resulting a Sauvignon Blanc dominate white being more perfumed.  


Fermentation - Stainless steel tanks in order to preserve fresh fruit aromas and flavours. 

No oak and no malo-lactic fermentation.


The final wine is determined by the proportion of Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc in the glass. 

Semillon - apricot and fig

Sauvignon Blanc - pineapple



Sweet wine production


Grapes used - Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc 


Moelleux and semi-sweet wines

Hand picked - not mandatory 

Grapes are harvested along with the ones affected by botrytis 

Residual sugar - 1.2-4.5% 


Liqoureux or sweet wines

Hand picked - mandatory, berry by berry through multiple passes in the vineyard. Only grapes affected by noble rot are picked. 

The mold that causes noble rot takes time to spread through the vineyard

Harvest takes 6-8weeks mid-September to November, picking grapes as the mold spread through out the vineyard. 

1 vine of botrytised grapes = 1-3 glasses of wine

Residual sugar - min 4.5%


Barrel age - some producers only. The wine are generally more expensive and prestigious. This is because the price of a barrel is approximately $900 and some producers replace the barrel every year. 


The grapes affected by noble rot impart a honeyed character

The final wine is determined by the proportion of Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc in the glass. 

Semillon - apricot and fig

Sauvignon Blanc - pineapple

The cool Bordeaux climate ensures ample acidity in the finished wine to balance the high sugar levels. 



Red wine production 


Grapes are harvested and fermented separately

Grapes from young and old vines are fermented separately.


Maceration of juice and skins, 15-21 days or longer.

This process extracts tannin,pigment and flavour compounds from the skins. 


Length of maceration depends on the quality of the grapes, ripeness level and wine style. When a wine is being built to age the Maceration process will be longer in order to impart more tannins (tannin is essential in order to age red wine)


Extended Maceration concentrates flavour and is only worth doing in good vintages. Sometimes the extra flavour is not worn extracting. 


Fermentation, 8-10 days 


2nd Fermentation, Malo-lactic fermentation.

The harsh malo acids are converted to soft lactic acids. 


Crafting the blend 

The blending process takes many months.

Wine is stored in barrels or barriques (225L), storing the wine in barrels adds wood tannins to the wine, the newer the barrels the more tannins are imparted.


Maturation in oak not only contributes tannins but also aromas

aromas - vanilla, caramel, toast, and coffee notes are present in the finished wine adding complexity


Many Chateaus (wine houses) produce more then 1 product. 

Grand Vin - best barrels 

Second and third labels - is made from younger vines and placed in lesser quality barrels and cellared for less time. Resulting in a more delicate wine with less structure and ready for immediate consumption.


Bordeaux Reds, most common flavour profile 

less fruit-driven

less alcohol

less overt oak flavours compared to New world reds. 

Flavours - cigar box, walnut, tea 


Rose and Clairet Wine Production 


2 lighter styles of red wine are produced in Bordeaux. 


Rose - Pink, blush colour 

Clairet - Semi-red colour 



Same winemaking method as tradtional red winemaking with a few exceptions 

shorter maceration period 24-36 hours compared to 15-21 days 

Saignee method is used to produce a less pigmented red wine but darked than Rose 



Saignee method is most common 

Maceration is even shorter then Clairet to produce a ligther style red wine


Removal of pink or semi-red juice is done by "bleeding the tank" (empting the tank)

increasing the skin-to-juice ratio in the vat.


The juice that is removed from the tank is bottled for Rose and Clairet wine which are produced for early consumption. 

The remaining juice in the tank will be more concentrated due to removing juice and be used for production of red wine. 


Using this technique gives the producers  2 different wines from 1 vat of grapes



Cremant Wine Production


Bordeaux has been producing Sparkling wine for over 100 years

1990 - received AOC status 

Method Tradtionnelle

Cremant can be White or Rose

Sweetness level ranges from Extra Brut - Doux 


White Cremant 

Sauvignon Blanc



Ugni Blanc 


any Bordeaux red grapes vinified as white 


Rose Cremant 

Cabernet Sauvignon


Cabernet France 


Petit Verdot



min 9 months Sur Lie aging for all Cremants 




Sub Regions 


Bordeaux can be divided into 3 sections. Left bank, Right Bank and Entre-Deux-Mers.


Left Bank 

Covers the area from the Medoc peninsula to Graves. The land is flat.

Soil - gravels (warm soils)

Wine Style - Cabernet Sauvignon based, more firmly structured with significant amounts of tannin.

Aromas - cassis, graphite, tobacco, cedar and sweet herb


Right Bank 

Landscape of small hills with low-lying land and deep valleys

Soil - clay and limestone (cold soils)

Wine Style - Merlot and Cabernet Franc based.

Flavour profile - soft plum fruit, limestone creates silky tannins and high acidity. Iron rich clays will add prune and walnut. 



vineyard area inbetween Garonne and Dordogne rivers 

Highest elevations in Bordeaux. 

All of the Bordeaux soil types are found here.

Red wine - Can be Merolt of Cabernet Sauvignon based 

White wine - Sauvignon Blanc based

Number 25 on the map is Entre-Deux-Mers 



All wine in Bordeaux is of AOC status. 


AOC regulates the

  • zone of production

  • grape varieties  

  • final product in the glass

  • alcohol levels winemaking techniques

  • viticulture practises

  • label

  • planting density

  • pruning technique

  • yields

  • harvest dates


All wine produced in Bordeaux undergoes a yearly chemical annalysis and blind tasting to verify typicity of the wine. 


All Bordeaux produces may label their wines under the AOC regional catagory

Bordeaux AOC

Bordeaux Superieur AOC


If the producer will always opt to use a smaller zone of production if possible


Bordeaux Superieur AOC has stricter production standards then Bordeaux AOC

  • smaller maximum yields

  • higher alcohol levels 

  • min aging for Red wine, min 9 months 

  • white wine must be either semi-sweet or moelleux

  • NO dry white Bordeaux Superieur AOC


Types of Appellations 



  • Bordeaux

  • Bordeaux Superieur

  • Bordeaux Clairet

  • Bordeaux Rose 







  • Medoc

  • Haut-Medoc

  • Entre-Deux-Mers

  • Bordeaux Haut-Benauge

  • Cotes de Bordeaux Saint Macaire 

  • Cotes de Blaye 






  • Margaux

  • St Estephe 

  • Pessac-Leognan

  • Barsac

  • Sauternes 

  • Saint Emilion

  • Pomerol

  • Fronsac

Left Bank Appellations 

The Medoc 


Left bank red wine is Cabernet Sauvignon dominant.


8 AOC comprise the Medoc 


Some of the worlds most expensive wine comes form this sub-region. 


The First growths of Bordeaux also known as Premier Grand Cru 

Chateau Lafite Rothschild - Medoc, Pauliiac

Chateau Margaux - Medoc, Margaux 

Chateau Latour - Medoc, Paulliac 

Chateau Haut-Brion - Medoc, Graves, Pessac-Leognan

Chateau Mouton-Rothschild -Medoc, Paulliac (promoted from 2nd growth to 1st in 1973. 



The Medoc AOC + Haut Medoc AOC  cover a large area of the west peninsula. 

Soil - small gravel soils.


4 communal AOC flank the east side of the peninusla on the Gironde river.

Soil - large gravel soils. 



St. Estephe AOC 

Producers today have increased the amount on Merlot in the blend to produce a more drinkable wine. Previously the wines were extremely structured with tough tannins that require many years in bottle to soften. 



Pauillac AOC

Produces wine that is structured and powerful. 

The wine is well known for its core of dusty cocoa-like tannins 



St. Julien AOC

Known to be the most New World and Californian like out of all the Medoc communes. 

Flavour profile - chocolate covered cherry fruit



Margaux AOC

Known to be the most feminine and perfumed out of all the Medoc communes. 



2 communal AOC are located further inland in the center of the peninsula 


Moulis en Medoc AOC

Located in the middle of Margaux and St. Julien. 

Soil - 3 types of soil

  • small Pyrenees gravel

  • large Garonnais gravel

  • clay/limestone mix 



Listrac-Medoc AOC 

Located on the highest point of elevation on the Medoc peninsula, 43meters above sea level. 

Soil - 3 types of soil 

  • small Pyrenne gravel

  • large Garonnais gravel

  • clay/limestone mix



Graves and Sauternais


Graves and the sub region Sauteranais is made up of 6 AOCs

2 Sub-regional AOCs and 4 Communal AOCs




The first vineyards in Bordeaux were planted in Graves


2/3 Red wine - Cabernet Sauvignon baseed

1/3 White wine, dry and sweet style - Sauvignon Blanc based

Soil - gravel


Graves AOC (Regional)

Dry Red and White wine


Graves Superieures AOC (Regional)

Semi-sweet White wine


Pessac-Leognan AOC (Communal)

Recieved status in 1987, previously apart of Graves.

Located in the northernmost part of Graves

Wine style - Cabernet Sauvignon based reds with a unique clove characteristic 

Soil - deep gravel 





Within the sub region are the 3 commuanl AOCs for sweet wine

Located in the southernmost part of Graves 


  • Cerons AOC

  • Barsac AOC

  • Sauternes AOC


 Soil - very poor and can only grow vines and trees 

Their macro-climate enables the growth of botrytis cinerea

Morning - wet due to fog created by the Ciron River

Afternoon - warm and dry

These are the ideal condtions which promote the botrytis cinerea to spread










Alluvial deposits flank the rivers 

Slopes, some are gravel

Plains, clay and sand, clay and limestone 


Alluvial-  the deposit of sediment over a long period of time by one or more rivers.


During 1950s and 1960s this sub-region was a major producer of white wine.

Today red wine production dominates 


White wine - Sauvignon Blanc dominant 

Red wine - Merlot and Cabernets

Semi sweet and sweet wine - Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon  


There are serval different AOCs within Entre-Deux-Mers 


All red wine outside of the following AOCs can be labelled under the regional Bordeaux AOC or Bordeaux Superieur AOC 

  • Saint-Foy

  • Graves de Vayres

  • Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux


Moelleux (semi-sweet) late harvest grapes and may include grapes affected by boytris.


Liquoreux (sweet) ONLY botrytised grapes

The Libournais - Right Bank


Red wine - Merlot dominant with Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon is added to the blend if the soil is compatible. 


The Libournais is comprised of 10 AOCs  the last 4 are St Emillon Satellites 


  • Fronsac AOC  

  • Canon-Fronsac AOC 

  • Pomerol AOC  

  • Lalande de Pomerol AOC  

  • Saint-Emilion AOC 

  • Saint-Emilion Grand Cru AOC

  • Saint-Georges-Saint-Emilion 

  • Lusac-Saint-Emilion AOC 

  • Montagne-Saint-Emilion AOC 

  • Puissguin-Saint-Emilion AOC



Satellites - located North and North East of the St Emilion AOC 



Fronsac AOC and Canon Fronsac AOC 

Located - separated from the rest of sub region by the Isle River

Soil - Clay and limestone 

Grapes - Merlot and Cabernet Franc with traditional blending partners 

Flavour profile - red fruits, black pepper



Pomerol AOC and Lalande-de-Pomerol AOC 

Soil - iron rich clays - creates heavy aromas and textures 

Flavour profile - walnut, truffle, prune and textured mouth feel.   

Pomerol AOC produced wine that is more structured and aromatic displaying red berry fruits strawberry and raspberry. 



St-Emilion and St-Emilion Grand Cru AOCs 

2 AOCs cover the same area of production

Grand Cru AOC - stricter production standards 

  • Lower yield 

  • Higher min alcohol 

  • Bottled at Chateau 

  • 2 tasting panel approvals 

  • Min 1 year aging 


Soil- limestone and clay 

Along the river - plots of sand 

The soil type (iron-rich clays) from Pomerol appears in St-Emilion

2 Chateau's are located on the iron-rich clay

  • Chateau Figeac

  • Chateau Cheval Blanc 

Different soils produces different styles of wine

Limestone - high acid and polished tannins 

Sand - fruit forward 

Iron-rich clay - flavour profile of Pomerol wine 



4 St-Emilion satellites 

Similar flavours of St Emilion except more delicate structure.


Saint-Georges-Saint-Emilion AOC

Lussac-Saint-Emilion AOC 

Montagne-Saint-Emilion AOC 

Puisseguin-Saint-Emilion AOC

The Cotes


8 AOCs

Cotes is French for the English word slope.

Vineyards are located on the slopes near the rivers.

6 of the AOC  vineyards are located are on right bank and are west facing 

Soil- limestones and clay


2 Côte AOCs are located in the Entre-Deux-Mers sub region


Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux AOC 

Wine style - Red, Semi-sweet to Sweet and White wine

Northern vineyards - Cabernet Sauvignon planted on gravel, Merlot is heavily planted 

Southern vineyards - White wine - dry/semi-sweet/sweet from Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle. 



Cotes de Bordeaux-Saint-Macaire AOC 

Wine style - Dry, Semi-sweet and Sweet White wine

Soil - limestone, clay-limestone

Grapes - Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle


6 AOCs are located on the right banks of the Gironde Estuary and the Dordogne River. 



Cotes de Bourg AOC 

Wine style - Red and Dry White

Grapes - Merlot dominates here, almost 80% of acreage. This is because of the soil type found here.

Soil - Clay soils 

Flavour profile - tannic, jammy, dark berry fruit, forest floor. Are able to improve in bottle for 5-10 years. 



Blaye AOC 

Wine style - Red and Dry White

This AOC is very close to Cognac 

Ugni Blanc represents 90% of the white blend.

Blending partners - Colombard, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle, Chenin 

Soil - mixed, sand, gravel, clay, limestone

Merlot dominates the red varieties 



Cotes de Blaye AOC 

Wine style - Dry White 

The blend must be 60-90% Colombard

Blending partners - Sauvignon, Semillon, Muscadelle 



Premieres Cotes de Blaye AOC 

Wine style - Red and Dry White 

This AOC is located close of Cognac

White wine Ugni Blanc and Colombard 

Red - Cabernet Sauvignon on gravel soils 



Cotes de Castillon AOC 

Wine style - Red

Merlot dominates 70-80% of acreage is planted on Clay soils 

Flavour profile - rounded wine with red berry fruits, strawberries and raspberries



Bordeaux-Cotes de Francs AOC 

Wine style - Red, Dry and Semi-sweet Whites

Soil - limestone

Grapes - Cabernet Franc is widely planted due to the soil 

Flavour profile- sweet herb, red berry fruits, forest floor 



The following AOC can now label their wine Cotes de Bordeaux 

  • Premieres Cotes de Blaye AOC 

  • Cotes de Castillon AOC 

  • Cotes de Francs AOC 

  • Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux AOC 


This new AOC Cotes de Bordeaux was created as a marketing tool.


The 4 AOCs mentioned above can append their sub-regional designations to the label.

  • Cotes de Bordeaux Blaye AOC 

  • Cotes de Bordeaux Castillon AOC 

  • Cotes de Bordeaux Francs AOC 

  • Cotes de Bordeaux Cadillac AOC 

Bordeaux Classification Systems 




Classification of 1855 


Medoc and Sauternes 


In 1855 a list was created that included the top Chateau's on the left bank of the Bordeaux and the right bank Sauternes. 


The list was created as a reference of the wine prices of the top Bordeaux wines in the 19th century and was not intended to be a classification system. 


Paris 1855 - The Universal Exhibition

The event is held in order to display new industry and technology. To highlight The strengths and culture of France wine was added to the event. 

Wine was displayed from Chateaux's who donated. 

There were 6 bottles 

They were labeled with the following information 

Estate, commune, region, vintage 

The display was not eye catching, to add a bit of glam a map of the region was placed next to the well along with a sign saying "classification of 1855"

From now on the sale of Bordeaux wines was separated between the "it" wine and the not so famed wine. 


The classification system included 

87 Chateaux 


1 - chateaux from Pessac-Leognan

26 - chateaux from Sauternes and Barsac

60 - chateaux from The Medoc


Red Wine 

producers were ranked in 1 of 5 categories, 1st being the best

  • 1st growth

  • 2nd growth

  • 3rd growth

  • 4th growth

  • 5th growt


The First growths of Bordeaux also known as Premier Grand Cru 


  • Chateaux Lafite Rothschild - Medoc, Pauliiac

  • Chateaux Margaux - Medoc, Margaux 

  • Chateaux Latour - Medoc, Paulliac 

  • Chateaux Haut-Brion -Pessac-Leognan

  • Chateaux Mouton-Rothschild -Medoc, Paulliac (promoted from 2nd growth to 1st in 1973. 



Sweet wine


3 categories 

  • Premier Cru Superieur 

  • Premier Cru

  • Deuxime Cru "Second Cru"


In 1855 Chateau d'Yquem was the most expensive sweet wine of Bordeaux and  for that reason it was given the status Premier Cru Superieur.

It is the only sweet wine under this category of Premier Cru Superieur





The Cru Bourgeois 


Not a classification system although was intended to be.



a list of 444 domains was presented by the Bordeaux wine traders to the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce and Chamber of Agriculture. 

The domains that were selected were labeled as Cru Bourgeois to recognise their quality. The list of 444 domains was never official 



Medoc producers petitioned for a new Cru Bourgeois Classification which included 247 estates.



the classification system reverted back to the unofficial 1932 list. 

The 2003 list excluded domains and producers petitioned. 


Today there are 270 domains in the Cru Bourgeois are represented by a member organisation- The Alliance des Crus Bourgeois. 

To be represented producers need to adhere to certain grape growing and wine making practises above the AOC regulations. 


The Cru Burgeois 

can be labelled as Petit Chateau - not an official term in France 







Crus Artisans 


New classification - 2006

  • Quality Boutique wineries 

  • Small estates 1-5 hectare 

  • The complete production process happen at he estate (barrel to bottle) 

  • 44 Cru Artisans 





Graves Classification 


All estates are located in the same production area as the Pessac-Leognan AOC 

Bottles may be labelled the following

Grand Cru Classe de Graves

Cru Classe de Graves 


Established 1955, revised in 1959

16 properties are ranked


6 estates - Red and White

3 estates - White only

7 estates - Red only







St. Emilion 



Established 1955, meant to be revised every 10 years. The system was revised in 2006. However it was not until 2008 they declared the 2006 ranking invalid.


Only right bank Classification system 


Saint Emilion 1996 Classification 


68 properties were ranked 

2 Premiers Grands Crus Classes A level

  • Chateaux Ausone 

  • Cheval Blanc 


11 Premiers Grands Crus Classes B level 

55 Grands Crus Classes 


Saint Emilion 2006 


61 properties were ranked 

2 Premiers Grands Crus Classes A level

  • Chateaux Ausone 

  • Cheval Blanc 

13 Premiers Grands Crus Classes B level 

46 Grands Crus Classes 


In 2006 2 Grand Cru Classes were moved up to Premiers Grands Crus Classes B level status

even though the 2006 revision was decleared invalid the estates were able to keep their status 


Saint Emilion 2009   = -1996+2006 rankings 


74 properties were ranked 

4  Premiers Grands Crus Classes A level

  • Chateaux Ausone 

  • Cheval Blanc 

  • Château Angélus

  • Château Pavie


14 Premiers Grands Crus Classes B level 

64 Grands Crus Classes 


Future grading of estates will be based on the following, 

50% - Condtion of the winery, equipment in the winery

How the estate stands in the market place 

50% wine quality 



NOTE: For a wine to achieve the status Grand Cru Classes it must already be a Grand Cru. 

St Emilion Grand Cru Classe AOC holds a higher status than St Emilion Grand Cru 




Classification System Overview




Premier Cru


Deuxime Cru





Crus Classes 

A level


Premiers Grands

Crus Classes

B level


96 -  Grands Crus Classe



  Grand Cru



Bordeaux wine trade


75% of Wine is sold through 400 wine traders that import wine to over 150 countries 


Many Bordeaux wines are sold en primeur


En primeur - wine is pre-sold. When the wine is purchased it is still in barrel. 

The en primeur price is significantly lower then the final release price. 


When to drink

Petits Chateaux (Cru Bourgeois), wine from the Cotes 

Best drinking age 5-7 years


Classified growths 

Hold for 10 years 


Clairet, Rose, White, semi-sweet 

Immediate consumption 


Sweet wines 

In great vintages they can age up to 100years

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