Auctions: Wines traded

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Red bordeaux, or claret, remains the staple of the wine auction rooms. It is long lived, enjoys widespread appeal, and it is in relatively plentiful supply. And the relative value of a particular red bordeaux is more readily identifiable than that of any other wine style, the 1855 classification providing some sort of easily comprehensible framework for evaluating the red bordeaux châteaux most widely traded in the saleroom.

The first growths—Chx lafite, latour, margaux, mouton rothschild in the Médoc, haut-brion and La mission haut-brion in Pessac-Léognan, ausone and cheval blanc in St-Émilion, the unofficial first growths Ch petrus and Le pin of Pomerol, and Ch d’Yquem in Sauternes—are undisputed members of today’s élite. Owing to the classification’s rigid composition, a second leading group of properties has emerged, commonly referred to as super seconds. Qualification for this group requires not only the strictest commitment to quality, but a record of consistently high prices which reflects that policy. More recently, a third group of so-called garage wines emerged, inspired by the success of Le Pin. Despite a relative fall from grace after its Asian market peak in 2011, Lafite remains the unofficial leader of the five Médoc first growths.