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Wine Wisdoms #16: What is a Cru?

Thursday, January 15th, 2009 at 3:39:50 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Vineyard in France

The French word for “growth”, cru is a classification term used throughout France to signify either areas of wine production or producers. For example, in Burgundy the term refers to vineyards and in Champagne, to whole villages. For most of France, the main classifications are grand cru (great growth) and premiere cru (first growth), the next best, and so on. But in Bordeaux, crus refer to chateaus and are designated under cru classé (classified growths), which was officially enacted in 1885. For the Medoc area of Bordeaux, the designations have a five-tier designation, with premiere cru classe as the highest.  The St.-Emilion region of Bordeaux was left out of the 1885 decision along with Graves and Pomerol, so they have their own naming system, which categorizes wines as either premiere or grands cru classés A or B.

As featured in the February issue of Wine Enthusiast Magazine, available now.

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