What is a Cru Classé ?

What is a Cru Classé ?

When you want to choosing a good wine. In many cases, we rely on the appellations, the awards, and the various mentions on the label. Among all this information, do you really know what a classified growth is? Let's see how to define a classified growth in wine.



For many years, wines have been the subject of various classifications. The best known of these is certainly that which aims to determine the Grands Crus Classés de France. Often organised by winegrowers' unions or wine merchants, the wine classification allows us to determine the best classified wines, in a way similar to the way medals are awarded at competitions.

The Grand Cru Classé has the particularity of taking into account the producers, and not the villages. It is thus castles, estates or localities that are classified. The most famous is certainly the 1855 classification of Bordeaux wines. This includes, among others, Château Margaux, Château Mouton Rothschild, Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Haut Brion for red wines, and 27 crus of the Sauternes and Barsac appellations for white wines.

The Grand Cru Classé is finally a sub-category of the AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée).



If the Grand Cru Classé honours a producer, the notion of cru is much broader, and can also concern a vineyard or an appellation.

When the cru refers to a specific vineyard

It is not uncommon to see, on thelabel of a bottle of wine. The term "Grand Cru" or "Premier Cru" is used next to the name of the AOC. Here, the notion of cru is used to further specify the specific area of production of the wine and its terroir.

When the cru refers to an appellation

In some regions of France, the crus refer to a specific vineyard in relation to the rest of the country. One can thus find the Rhone wines. This is the name of the region's wine region.

The Crus of Champagne

In the Champagne region, the notion of Cru is quite particular, since it refers to entire communes. Although the term is obsolete since the creation of theAOC Champagne in 1989, it is still seen on the labels of good bottles of Champagne.



Let's stop in the South of France, to discover the history of the 18 Classified Growths of the Côtes de Provence.

The history of the Côtes de Provence classified growth

The history of Crus Classés Côtes de Provence The association began in 1895, on the initiative of several winegrower-owners of the Var who wanted to group together and support each other to promote their properties and their wines, and to improve their reputation. It was therefore in 1947 that the Provence wines have been able to benefit from the title of Cru Classé, and this despite the demands of the Bordeaux producers, until then the only holders of this honorific title.

Thus, 23 estates were selected under the supervision of the National Institute of Origin and Quality (INAO), after a scrupulous study of their know-how and their terroir. These estates and castles In 1955, they obtained the title of "Cru Classé", before 5 of them lost it over the years.

This active and innovative approach enabled the wines of Provence to obtain the status of Superior Quality Wine in 1951, then the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC Côtes de Provence) in 1977.

The process will not stop here:

  • In the 90's a club regrouping the Crus Classés vineyards of Provence was created to promote tradition and know-how;
  • In the 2000s, a Côtes de Provence Crus Classés club was officially formed by 14 estates and châteaux;
  • In 2005, a Charter of Excellence is signed by these domains;
  • In 2006, 8 winegrowers from the Crus Classés des Côtes de Provence will create the Provence wine route.


The 18 Côtes de Provence Crus Classés estates (1955)

Although the classification of Provence wines dates back to 1955, the story continues today, and the same 18 estates and châteaux still enjoy the title of "Cru Classé".

  • The Domaine du Jas d'Esclans, at La Motte;
  • The Château Sainte Roseline, in Les Arcs sur Argens;
  • The Château Roubine, in Lorgues ;
  • The Château de Saint Martin, in Taradeau ;
  • The Château de Selle, in Taradeau;
  • The Domaine de Saint Maur, in Cogolin ;
  • The Château de Brégançon, in Bormes les Mimosas ;
  • The Domaine du Noyer, in Bormes les Mimosas ;
  • The Domaine de la Croix, in La Croix-Valmer;
  • The Château Minuty, in Gassin;
  • The Château du Galoupet, in La Londe les Maures;
  • Le Clos Mireille, in La Londe les Maures ;
  • The Château de Mauvanne, at the Salins d'Hyères;
  • The Domaine de l'Aumérade, in Hyères ;
  • The Domaine de la Clapière, in Hyères;
  • Le Clos Cibonne, Le Pradet ;
  • The Domaine de Rimauresq, in Pignans.

Although the wine world has changed considerably since then, and the selection of the 18 estates is controversial today, the 1955 classification does not currently provide for any revision. In order for it to benefit from an update, it would have to be cancelled and a new classification made. A project that has never been envisaged before. However, many Côtes de Provence domains would deserve, to this day, the title of classified growth.