Grand Cru Classe
Definition - What does Grand Cru Classe mean?
Grand Cru Classe refers to the Wine Official Classification of 1855 by declaration of Emperor Napoleon III, which states that the wines of Bordeaux (other regions followed) should be ranked and given status according to their reputation and/or vineyards which made exceptional wines throughout many years.
Grand Cru Classe is also known as the Great Classified Growths. There are a total of five levels of classification referred to as crus or growths. In Bordeaux, the famous estates which made the Grand Cru Classe list were/are:
- Chateau Lafite Rothschild
- Chateau Haut-Brion
- Chateau Latour
- Chateau Margaux
Each of them are from the region of Medoc with the only exception of Haut-Brion from Graves.
WineFrog explains Grand Cru Classe
The Gran Cru Classe ranking remained unchanged for over a hundred years, even though many estates had long-since proved themselves to be worthy. It was not until 1973 that Mouton Rothschild was promoted to Primier Cru status. Chateau Haut-Brion was also given another appellation of Pessac-Leogan in 1988.
Most of the wines classified under the Grand Cru Classe system were reds, however white wines from the region of Barsac and Sauternes renown for their sweet wines of Semillon and Sauvignon blanc made the ranking as well. Chateau d'Yquem is one of them.
In other regions of France like Burgundy and Alsace, the system is slightly different with recognizing not just estates, but special vineyards as well.