The 1855 Classification of Bordeaux

The Médoc classification system was created by Bordeaux's wine brokers for the Paris Exposition Universelle taking place in 1855.

They needed a formal tool that they could use to better market their wines to the general public. The châteaux were divided into 5 different classified growths – first being highest, fifth being lowest. Their classification was based on price alone. Haut Brion was the only château from the Graves to be included, possibly because it was the most famous at the time. Other châteaux from that sub-region were outlined in another classification in 1959.

Despite its age, it is still used as a reference guide, although some châteaux have shifted their reputations and comparative prices since. Over the years only one château has formally moved to a higher classification: in 1973 after years of trying to prove worthy stature, Mouton Rothschild was finally promoted to first growth from second growth. As a result, the logo on their labels changed from “Premier ne puis, second ne daigne, Mouton suis” (“First I cannot be, second I will not call myself, Mouton I am”) to “Premier je suis, second je fus, Mouton ne change” (“First I am, second I was, Mouton does not change”).

First Growths

Château Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac
Château Latour, Pauillac,
Château Margaux, Margaux
Château Haut-Brion, Graves
Château Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac (reclassified from Second Growth status in 1973)

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 Gruaud-Larose, St.-Julien
Château Lascombes, Margaux
Château Brane-Cantenac, Cantenac-Margaux (Margaux)
Château Pichon Longueville Baron, Pauillac (commonly known as Pichon Baron)
Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac (commonly known as Pichon Lalande or Pichon Comtesse)
Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, St.-Julien
Château Cos d'Estournel, St.-Estèphe
Château Montrose, St.-Estèphe

Third Growths

Château Kirwan, Cantenac-Margaux (Margaux)
Château d'Issan, Cantenac-Margaux (Margaux)
Château Lagrange, St.-Julien
Château Langoa Barton, St.-Julien
Château Giscours, Labarde-Margaux (Margaux)
Château Malescot St. Exupéry, Margaux
Château Cantenac-Brown, Cantenac-Margaux (Margaux)
Château Boyd-Cantenac, Margaux
Château Palmer, Cantenac-Margaux (Margaux)
Château La Lagune, Ludon (Haut-Medoc)
Château Desmirail, Margaux
Château Calon-Ségur, St.-Estèphe
Château Ferrière, Margaux
Château Marquis d'Alesme Becker, Margaux

Fourth Growths

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

Fifth Growths

Château Pontet-Canet, Pauillac
Château Batailley, Pauillac
Château Haut-Batailley, Pauillac
Château Haut-Bages-Libéral, Pauillac
Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Pauillac
Château Grand-Puy-Ducasse, Pauillac
Château Lynch-Bages, Pauillac
Château Lynch-Moussas, Pauillac
Château Dauzac, Labarde (Margaux)
Château d'Armailhac, Pauillac
Château du Tertre, Arsac (Margaux)
Château Pédesclaux, Pauillac
Château Belgrave, St.-Laurent (Haut-Médoc)
Château de Camensac, St.-Laurent (Haut-Médoc)
Château Cos Labory, St.-Estèphe
Château Clerc-Milon, Pauillac
Château Croizet Bages, Pauillac
Château Cantemerle, Macau (Haut-Médoc) (added in 1856)