Original handwritten letter of the 1855 Classification of Bordeaux.

Lodi-Martin Duffour-Dubergie, mayor of Bordeaux and President of the Chamber of Commerce, AND...owner of Château de Gironville and Château Smith Haut Lafitte in 1855.

Lodi-Martin Duffour-Dubergie, mayor of Bordeaux and President of the Chamber of Commerce, AND...owner of Château de Gironville and Château Smith Haut Lafitte in 1855.

Written and dated April 18th, 1855,  The Syndicat des Courtiers de Commerce de Bordeaux  (wine-brokers) are replying to a request by the members of the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce to rank and rate the great red and white wines of the Gironde.

With the exception of Château Haut-Brion from Graves, the system applied only to wines of Médoc and sweet wines of Sauternes and Barsac.

The wines of the right bank were not included as these areas of cultivation came under the auspices of the Libourne Chamber of Commerce. Bummer.

Napoleon III requested similar lists to the entire agricultural industry, including wine, to feature France's best products for the 1855 exposition in Paris.

Since the courtiers had experience and had long worked with such classifications, decided to undertake the selection based on price. They did not sit down to a blind tasting or evaluation, just wrote on the second page, "You know as well as we do, Sirs, that this classification is a delicate task and bound to raise questions; remember that we have not tried to create an official ranking, but only to offer you a sketch drawn from the very best sources." . Price.

The breakdown of value is noted:

First growths: 3000 Francs

Second: 2500 - 2700 Francs

Third: 2100 - 2400 Francs

Fourth: 1800 - 2100 Francs

Fifth: 1400 -1600 Francs

During this time, this list had little relevance to the consumer, as most wine was shipped in barrel, then blended before it reached the end consumer. Today, it can provide a starting point for which to view the hierarchy of Bordeaux Châteaux. Like it or not.

Read more about the 1855 Classification here.

Browse our list of classified (and unclassified) Bordeaux wines here.

Click on images below to expand into light box.

Premier Crus Classés (First Growths)
Château Lafite-Rothschild, Pauillac
Château Latour, Pauillac
Château Margaux, Margaux
Château Haut-Brion, Pessac, Graves
Château Mouton-Rothschild, Pauillac (since 1973)

Deuxièmes Crus Classés (Second Growths)
Château Rauzan-Ségla, Margaux
Château Rauzan-Gassies, Margaux
Château Léoville-Las-Cases, St. Julien
Château Léoville-Poyferré, St. Julien
Château Léoville-Barton, St. Julien
Château Durfort-Vivens, Margaux
Château Lascombes, Margaux
Château Gruaud-Larose, St. Julien
Château Brane-Cantenac, Cantenac-Margaux
Château Pichon-Longueville Baron, Pauillac
Château Pichon Lalande, Pauillac
Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, St. Julien
Château Cos d'Estournel, St. Estèphe
Château Montrose, St. Estèphe

Troisièmes Crus Classés (Third Growths)
Château Giscours, Labarde-Margaux
Château Kirwan, Cantenac-Margaux
Château d'Issan, Cantenac-Margaux
Château Lagrange, St. Julien
Château Langoa-Barton, St. Julien
Château Malescot St. Exupéry, Margaux
Château Cantenac-Brown, Cantenac-Margaux
Château Palmer, Cantenac-Margaux
Château La Lagune, Ludon-Haut-Médoc
Château Desmirail, Margaux
Château Calon-Ségur, St. Estèphe
Château Ferrière, Margaux
Château Marquis d'Alesme-Beker, Margaux
Château Boyd-Cantenac, Cantenac-Margaux

Quatrièmes Crus Classés (Fourth Growths)
Château St.Pierre, St. Julien
Château Branaire, St. Julien
Château Talbot, St. Julien
Château Duhart-Milon, Pauillac
Château Pouget, Cantenac-Margaux
Château La Tour-Carnet, St. Laurent-Haut-Médoc
Château Lafon-Rochet, St. Estèphe
Château Beychevelle, St. Julien
Château Prieuré-Lichine, Cantenac-Margaux
Château Marquis-de-Terme, Margaux

Cinquièmes Crus Classés (Fifth Growths)
Château Pontet-Canet, Pauillac
Château Batailley, Pauillac
Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Pauillac
Château Grand-Puy-Ducasse, Pauillac
Château Haut-Batailley, Pauillac
Château Lynch-Bages, Pauillac
Château Lynch-Moussas, Pauillac
Château Dauzac, Labarde-Margaux
Château Mouton-Baronne-Philippe (now d'Armailhacq), Pauillac
Château du Tertre, Arsac-Margaux
Château Haut-Bages-Libéral, Pauillac
Château Pédesclaux, Pauillac
Château Belgrave, St. Laurent-Haut-Médoc
Château de Camensac, St. Laurent-Haut-Médoc
Château Cos Labory, St. Estèphe
Château Clerc-Milon-Rothschild, Pauillac
Château Croizet-Bages, Pauillac
Château Cantemerle, Macau-Haut-Médoc