So many wines, so little time. With such variety available, we look to wine judges or writers to tell us which vinos stand out. Even in Roman times, Pliny the Elder wrote about regions or vineyards that produced superior wines. Today, gold medals and high point scores set wines apart.
This year is the 160th anniversary of the most famous and enduring effort to rank wines by quality: the 1855 Bordeaux ranking of classified growths, or Cru Classés, of the Médoc and Graves, the classic vineyards along the left bank of the Gironde River. Developed for the Paris Exposition of Napoleon III, the classification ranked Bordeaux’s most famous chateaux according to the price fetched by their wines.
So back then, at least, you got what you paid for.
Today, we still talk of the first growths: Châteaux Lafite-Rothschild, Latour, Margaux, Haut-Brion and Mouton-Rothschild (the last elevated from second to first growth in 1973, the only change in the official classification). There are 15 second growths, 14 third growths, 10 fourths and 18 fifths.
But how relevant is the 1855 classification today?
Continue reading: The Washington Post1855 Classification, Bordeaux