Bordeaux First Growths: A True Trophy Wine For Wine Collectors

The most famous modification involves Chateau Mouton Rothschild.  Chateau Brane Mouton had been purchased in 1853 by Nathaniel de Rothschild and renamed as Mouton Rothschild.  The combination of the recent change in ownership and the new owner being an English Jew, probably had something to do with the estate being classified as a Second Growth.  That was “corrected” in 1973 with the estate being elevated to First Growth status.  (This will be further discussed later in our series.)

In other changes, there have been three estates which have been divided; Leoville, Pichon and Batailley.  Two estates combined to create Chateau Pouget-Lassale.  Chateau Dubignon was absorbed into Malescot-St. Exupery.  Furthermore, the owners of the Chateaux have changed hands many times since the classification. 

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It also must be remembered that unlike Burgundy and many other areas of France, it was not the vineyards of Bordeaux that were rated, it was the Chateau.  For example, in Burgundy, Clos Vougeout is a very famous vineyard.  Around eighty different wineries make wine from this Grand Cru vineyard.  No matter who makes wine, however, it is the vineyard that carries the classification.

Some producers make excellent wines while other make wines that are substantially less in quality.  In Bordeaux, however, the producer can expand, retract or change their source of grapes, without changing their 1855 Classification.

For more than 25 years, The California Wine Club founders Bruce and Pam Boring have explored all corners of California’s wine country to find award-winning, handcrafted wine to share with the world. Each month, the club features a different small family winery and hand selects two of their best wines for members.