Parlez-vous Bordeaux?

Here’s a guide to help you master the intricacies of France’s famous crus classés.

Aug 9, 2009
Château Rauzan-Ségla wines are back on the grand crus map.
Château Rauzan-Ségla wines are back on the grand crus map.

There are approximately 475 properties in the Médoc, Bordeaux’s premier red wine region, but under the famous government decree of 1855, only 61 of them are entitled to the designation crus classés, or classed growths. This elite group is further divided, by quality, into five growths, with Rauzan-Ségla being one of 14 Deuxièmes Crus, or Second Growths. A handful of Second Growths, known unofficially as Super Seconds, have been on such consistently good form for the last decade or so that they now rival the First Growth in terms of quality, if not price.

As competition between properties for the increasingly influential point scores builds, more chateaux are downgrading a proportion of their production that doesn’t quite make the grade for their flagship bottling, le grand vin, to a less expensive second label, in the case of Rauzan-Ségla, simply Ségla.


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