Travel & Wine Update

March 3, 2022

Learn about the Haut-Médoc Region of Bordeaux, France

The Haut-Médoc zone is home to the "famous four" appellations of Margaux, Pauillac, Saint-Estèphe and Saint-Julien


Which Chateaux in Bordeaux have the most sought after wines?

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The 1855 classification of Bordeaux wines was created at the request of Emporer Napoleon III, to be presented at the Exposition Universelle de Paris. Showcasing the very best French wines, the classification ranked sixty top Bordeaux reds. The original rankings still stand 160 years later, with only one change; the promotion of Chateau Mouton Rothschild to Premier Cru status in 1973.

Of the five Bordeaux wines to be ranked as First Growths (1er Cru Classé), four are located in the Haut-Médoc

  1. Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac
  2. Chateau Latour, Pauillac
  3. Chateau Margaux, Margaux
  4. Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac


Château Lafite Rothschild has been owned by the Rothschild family since the 19th century. The name Lafite comes from the surname of the La Fite family, the original owners of the property. In the 18th century, before Rothschild acquired the chateau, the wine of Château Lafite was called "The King's Wine." Lafite's reputation was assured when Thomas Jefferson visited the estate and became a lifelong customer. The French Revolution and the Reign of Terror resulted in the execution of Château Lafite’s owner and the estate became public property. In 1868 the Château was purchased by Baron Rothschild, and the estate became Château Lafite Rothschild.


Château Latour lies at the very southeastern tip of the commune of Pauillac, at its border with Saint-Julien, and only a few hundred meters from the banks of the Gironde estuary. In 1331, a Tor à Saint-Lambert was built along with garrison fort to guard against attack during the Hundred Years' War. The tower gave its name to the estate, but the original tower no longer exists. In the 17th century, a circular tower (La Tour de Saint-Lambert) was built on the estate, and it remains a strong symbol of the vineyard. Though two centuries apart, this building is said to have been constructed using the original edifice. 


Wine under names such as "Margou" and "Margous" were known as early as the 15th century. The early 18th century saw the wine develop from a pale watery drink, to the dark, complex liquid that has been stored in cellars ever since. The transformation was largely due to an estate manager named Berlon, who revolutionized techniques of wine-making and acknowledged the importance of soil quality. 


The Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855 was based entirely on recent market prices for a vineyard's wines, with one exception: Château Mouton Rothschild. London-born Rothschild was looking forward to his place on the 1855 Classification, only to find that experts ignored his estate entirely. He referred to this as "the monstrous injustice.” In 1973, Mouton was elevated to "first growth" status after decades of intense lobbying by its powerful and influential owner, the only change in the original 1855 classification.

The Most Fun Way to Learn about Wine is to Experience the Wine Where it is Made

Join Coggin Travels to Taste the Wines of Bordeaux

October 20-27, 2022

Aboard the AmaDolce in Bordeaux, France

Our 7 day itinerary takes us to the best and most interesting places in Bordeaux

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