In Bordeaux, there are 61 Grand Crus, 5 of which are Premier Crus, which are the highest status.

In Burgundy, however, there are 561 vineyards with Premier Cru status, but only 32 that are ranked Grand Cru, which is the highest status.

Is this correct? And if so, why are they reversed? Are they just trying to piss me off? Learning to remember French names is difficult enough...
Original Post
They're trying to piss you off. No really.

I think Bordeaux is pretty straight forward, you have 61 Cru Classé (Not "Grand Cru") sites, 5 of which are Premier Cru. This only applies to Medoc (And Haut-Brion in Graves / Pessac-Léognan). The rest are divided into second, third, fourth, fifth crus.

Then there's the Sauternes classification, where you have one Premier Grand Cru, Premier Crus below that.

St. Emillion also has a different classification, I won't get into that.

As for Burgundy, the land is so fragmented due to Napolitiantime laws of inheritance that the sites are incredibly small, and unlike Bordeaux they don't change much. As for classification of the very best wines that have their own AC it's like you said, ~560 Premier Crus, ~30 Grand Crus, that often just put their own name on the label, they're famous enough that you "should" know them.

The system is different, I think you just got hung up on the terms. Grand Cru in Bordeaux is either Chateau d'Yquem or St. Emillion wines.
great reply, thorn.

pharon, i've found that remembering the names of the best producers is sometimes even more helpful than the classification.

for example, there are some 100 producers making wine from burgundy's clos de vougeot, which is a grand cru. some of the producers and some of the areas in the vineyard are less wonderful than others.

and in bordeaux, there are some 2nd and 3rd and 4th ++ growths that make wines, which are consistently better than other producers in the same category.

that said, knowing the classification system is helpful as it usually provides some guidance in terms of quality and character. the classification system and region provide an idea about what to expect from one wine in relation to another made by the same producer.

cheers,
gloria
Right, I was kind of unclear as far as Burgundy goes. A Premier Cru site in Burgundy means literally "a site where a great wine could be made, POTENTIALLY", and even better for Grand Crus. Location is everything.

Whether a producer lives up to the classification is up to you, the consumer, and although most of the Grand Cru sites are infallible, there is always the quality/price aspect to consider.
In general, in Burgundy, Grand Cru means that the grapes are grown slighly higher up the mountainside than Premiere Cru, (with village wines below this) and thus, the theory goes, the drainage and exposure affect the grape quality.
So, theoretically, a Grand Cru wine should be better than a Premiere Cru.
The key is "theoretically."
First and foremost, your own personal palate preference (PPP) is way more important.
Right, a major difference is that the Burgundy classification classifies locations, while Bordeaux in effect classifies brands (chateaux).

Also, I might be wrong on this, but the Bordeaux system isn't part of the AC classification at all, while it is in Burgundy. St. Emillion is the exception in Bordeaux and is integrated into AC.
Any Dick and Harry can call themselves Grand Cru in Bordeaux, especially in St.Emilion, and still bottle vinegar. In Burgundy, Grand Cru signifies specific location, which, even if vigneron is totally off his rocker, should produce good to excellent wines. But give a Grand Cru climat to a wunderkind and you have yourself some magic in the bottle. Location, location, location.

On the topic of Burgundy, anyone here considered purchasing a couple of rows or a slice of vineyard or investing in one of the Domaines?
So these questions got me thinking about the regions, etc. And if I understand it correctly there are really several Bordeaux classifications:

The first is the 1855 Classement which was for the Medoc region and produced the 1st thru 5th growths. In this classement are wines from Pauillac, Margaux, Saint-Jullien, Saint-Estephe, Cantenac, Saint-Laurent

The second is the 1859 Graves Classement that include wines from Leognan, Cadaujac, Pessac, Talence.

The third is the Saint-Emillion 1996 Classement that include Chateaux like: Ausone, Cheval Blanc, Fiegac, Moulin de Cadet, and many others.

I think the deal in Graves and Saint-Emillion is that as a Chateaux you're either in the Classement or you're not. And if you're not you're hating it; relegated to selling your rot at the local farmers market.

Finally there is Sauternes et Barsac. Not sure when this happened but as we all know d'Yquem is the Premier Cru Superieur with a Premieur Crus and and Seconds Crus.


So my question for the group... Is this accurate? Cause before this I thought the 1855 Classement attempted to classify the entire region.

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