This famous wine growing area belongs to the French region Bordeaux; the name means "middle country". It is located northwest of the city of Bordeaux on the triangular peninsula between the confluence of Garonne and Dordogne formed mouth funnel Gironde and the Atlantic Ocean. The approximately 70 kilometers long and 5 to 12 kilometers wide strip dominated by many vineyards is occasionally interrupted by pastures, scrub and polders (floodplain). The area is divided into two regional (Bas-Médoc and Haut-Médoc) and six located within Haut-Medoc municipal appellations with approximately 16,000 hectares of vineyards. Médoc is probably the most famous appellation of Bordeaux and also one of the most important and best red wine regions France and the world.
Viticulture came to this area relatively late. In the 17th century, under the direction of Dutch dam and hydraulic engineering specialists, coastal strains were straightened, swampy ground surfaces drained and streams regulated. Therefore, the area was called "La Petite Hollande" for a long time. Later, many vineyards were created or small areas acquired and merged into larger estates, including the famous family ségur, Médoc has particularly good conditions for viticulture. These are the mild Kima, the very sparse and deep gravel that exists in many places, which forces the vines to drive their roots into the depths, as well as the good ones water discharge in the ground. Despite its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, the climate is not humid, because the many pine forests provide excellent protection against winds and rain from the west.
Médoc is divided into the northern area of Bas-Médoc (mostly confused with Médoc because it does not refer to the whole area) with 5,600 hectares and the southern Haut-Médoc area with 4,600 hectares of vines (the sizes refer to the two appellations without the six communities listed below). The border runs at Saint-Seurin -de-Cadourne north of the town of Saint-Estèphe. Haut-Médoc starts at the southern community corner of Blanquefort, which is the northern boundary to the area Graves forms. Both areas are also entitled to their own appellation. They differ by quite different soil types, In Haut-Médoc, the wines are rated higher due to the particularly gravelly soil and generally have more race and finesse. The six famous communities Margaux. Moulis. Listrac-Médoc. Pauillac. Saint-Estèphe and Saint-Julien form within Haut-Médoc own appellations.
The wines from the other communities carry the origin "Haut-Médoc", the wines from Bas-Médoc simply "Médoc" or rarely "Bas-Médoc". They are made from the typical grape varieties in the Bordeaux blend produced, being in the skin Médoc rather Cabernet Sauvignon, in the Bas-Médoc rather Merlot dominated. The varietal mix differs but mainly by whether you are on Rive droite (right bank) or Rive gauche (left bank) of Garonne / Dordogne or. Gironde located. The less significant white wines are mostly made Sauvignon Blanc vinified. Typical of the Médoc are the numerous magnificent châteaux, which deserve this name (as "castle") also from an architectural point of view. But this is not a quality feature, because there are also wineries with very simple buildings, where great wines are produced.
In 1855 was the famous Bordeaux Classification (the cause or the procedure is described in detail in this keyword). From a total of 4,000 châteaux or red wines, only 61 (that is the number from today's perspective, see below) were considered worthy to be added to the list. With the sole exception of Château Haut-Brion out of the area Graves are only Châteaux from the Médoc included. The official presentation took place with great pomp on 18 April 1855. The Châteaux were grouped into five classes. Within these five classes was due to the average price of the wines achieved an order in descending order. This was the top of the list Château Lafite-Rothschild,
The former ranking is listed in the table below. The class is today rarely included on the bottle label, but often only the text "Grand Cru Classé en 1855" indicated. The lesser-known Deuxièmes, however, often point out their status in order to make a name for themselves. Even Baron Philippe de Rothschild did not take it in 1973, the increase in the first rank with the famous quote "Premier je suis, Second je fus, Mouton ne change" (First I am, second I was, Mouton does not change ) on the label designed by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973). In particular, the Châteaux classified "only" as fourth and fifth crus usually omit this so as not to make their "low" rank too obvious.
To this day, surprisingly, there were only two changes to the list published in April 1855. The well-known is the reordering of the Château Mouton-Rothschild, After decades of struggle by Philippe de Rothschild (1902-1988) it was reorganized from second to first place. Incidentally, the official document was signed by the then Minister of Agriculture Jacques Chirac (born 1932), the later French president. Furthermore, it was decided that the naming of the now five Premier Crus is not a ranking, but is done by the alphabet. However, with one exception: Château Haut-Brion is the only non-Médoc winery always in last place. The lesser known change is probably the one "forgotten" Château Cantemerle, This good was not included on the list published in April and was added later in December at the end.
Compared to 1855, however, there have been other changes, some of them considerable. Most châteaux have changed over time from vine planting and size. There were some significant increases. In contrast to the example for classification in Saint-Emilion The boundaries of Médoc wineries may change without affecting rank. The only requirement is that the areas must be within the appellation. What matters here is the reputation of the winery and not the quality of the location or vineyards. The name of the winery is as it were as a constant quality feature and trademark.
There are sometimes ambiguities about the number of "61 classified châteaux", because in the original list of 1855 there are only 59 names. The reason for the difference is ownership splitting and the abandonment of a good. Although the former Chateau Léoville had been divided into three in 1826, it was rated as a winery. The two Châteaux Pichon-Longueville and Batailley were divided into two after 1855, so they are only included once each. And the Château Dubignon does not exist anymore, the vineyards migrated to Château Malescot Saint- Exupéry, Château Margaux and Château Palmer. There were also some name changes.
Only two of the 1855 classified wineries are still owned by the same family as they were then, that is Château Langoa-Barton and Château Mouton-Rothschild, The 61 Châteaux today comprise about 3,000 hectares of vineyards with about 20% of the Médoc production. The five Premier Cru-Classé estates are "National Heritage" and may not be sold to foreigners; a potential buyer must be a Frenchman. In the column "R" the order in the original list and under "Name 1855" the former names:
NAME OF THE CHÂTEAU
Premier Cru Classé (5)
|Château Mouton-Rothschild||-||Mouton - was 1st at Deux.||Pauillac|
|Château Haut-Brion (Exception, see above)||4||Skin Brion||Pessac-Léognan|
Deuxième Cru Classé (14)
|Château Brane-Cantenac||8th||Brane Cantenac||Cantenac-Margaux|
|Château Cos d'Estournel||11||Cos Destournel||Saint-Estèphe|
|Château Ducru-Beaucaillou||10||Ducru Beau Caillou||Saint-Julien|
|Château Léoville-Barton||4||Léoville - as 1 shared flat w.||Saint-Julien|
|Château Léoville-Las-Cases||4||Léoville - as 1 shared flat w.||Saint-Julien|
|Château Léoville-Poyferré||4||Léoville - as 1 shared flat w.||Saint-Julien|
|Château Pichon-Longueville Baron||9||Pichon Longueville - was 1||Pauillac|
|Château Pichon-Longueville Comtesse||9||Pichon Longueville - was 1||Pauillac|
Troisième Cru Classé (14)
|Château Cantenac Brown||7||Cantenac Brown||Cantenac-Margaux|
|Château Giscours||5||Giscours||Labarde Margaux|
|Château La Lagune||9||Lalagune||ludon|
|Château Malescot Saint-Exupéry||6||Saint-Exupery||Margaux|
|Château Marquis d'Alesme-Becker||14||Becker||Soussans-Margaux|
|There is no longer||11||Dubignon||Margaux|
Quatrième Cru Classé (10)
|Château Beychevelle||9||Ch. De Beychevele||Saint-Julien|
|Château La Tour Carnet||7||carnet||Saint-Laurent|
|Château Marquis-de-Terme||11||Marquis de Termes||Margaux|
|Château Prieuré-Lichine||10||Le Prieuré||Cantenac-Margaux|
Cinquième Cru Classé (18)
|Château Batailley||2||Batailley - today 2 shared apartments||Pauillac|
|Château Cantemerle||17||Cantemerle - tail light||Macau|
|Château Clerc Milon||15||Clerc Milon||Pauillac|
|Château Cos Labory||14||Cos Labory||Saint-Estèphe|
|Château Dauzac||7||Dauzac||Labarde Margaux|
|Château de Camensac||13||Camensac||Saint-Laurent|
|Château du Tertre||9||La Tertre||Arsac-Margaux|
|Château Grand-Puy Ducasse||4||Artigues-Arnaud||Pauillac|
|Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste||3||Grand Puy||Pauillac|
|Château Haut-Bages-Libéral||10||Skin Bages||Pauillac|
|Château Haut-Batailley||2||Batailley - today 2 shared apartments||Pauillac|
|Château Lynch-Moussas||6||Lynch Moussa||Pauillac|
The unofficial term "Super-Seconds" without Deuxièmes-Châteaux are referred to, which are due to superior wine qualities near or at Premier-Cru level. With a new classification they would land at the top. Experts disagree on the list, but the following are often cited: Cos-d'Estournel, Ducru-Beaucaillou, Gruaud-Larose, Léoville-Las-Cases, Montrose, Pichon-Longueville Comtesse, Pichon-Longueville Baron and Rauzan Ségla. Many experts also believe that the Cinquième-Châteaux (5th) Grand-Puy-Lacoste and Lynch-Bages, as well as the Troisième-Château (3rd) Palmer would earn 2nd place. See a list of different classification systems under the keyword Grand Cru, The EU-wide classification system is under the keyword quality system described.