premier cru



  • any one of the best wines in a particular region of France. In the Bordeaux region, particularly the Médoc and Sauternes areas, it refers to estates graded as the best producers of wine in France in the great classification of 1855, when just four red wine estates – château Lafite-Rothschild, Château haut-Brion, Château Latour, and Château Margaux – were awarded this status (a fifth estate, Château Mouton-Rothschild, was upgraded in 1973). These five estates can label their red wines premier cru. In the Sauternes area of Bordeaux there are 11 white wine-producing estates judged to be premier cru and one of even higher quality (Château d’Yquem) judged as premier grand cru. In the Burgundy region of France the premier cru description confusingly refers to the second-best wines – the best are labelled grand cru.