Map detailing the Bordeaux Wine Classification of 1855
By SERRES, Unal, 1874
Carte Vinicole du Départment de la Gironde dressée sur la données de Mr Duffour Dubergier Président de la Cambre du Commerce de Bordeaux par Unal Serres Dessinateur Géomètre de la Ville de Bordeaux.
- Author: SERRES, Unal
- Publication place: Bordeaux
- Publisher: P. Chaumas Libraire Proprre. Editeur Fossés du Chapeau rouge 34
- Publication date: 1874.
- Physical description: Hand-coloured lithograph map, dissected and mounted on linen, inset plans of the Médoc, the white wine region, key to map lower right, and table of wine classifications lower left.
- Dimensions: 980 by 720mm (38.5 by 28.25 inches).
- Inventory reference: 3016
The Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855 resulted from the 1855 Exposition Universelle de Paris, when Emperor Napoleon III requested a classification system for France’s best Bordeaux wines which were to be on display for visitors from around the world. Brokers from the wine industry ranked the wines according to a château’s reputation and trading price, which at that time was directly related to quality.
The wines were ranked in importance from first to fifth growths (crus). All of the red wines that made it on the list came from the Médoc region except for one: Château Haut-Brion from Graves. The white wines, then of much less importance than red wine, were limited to the sweet varieties of Sauternes and Barsac and were ranked only from first great growth to second growth.
A note to the right of the plan reads: (trans.) “This map is a reduction of the one used at the General Exhibition of 1855 by the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce; it is drawn by the same surveyor”. The surveyor in question was Unal Serres, a local cartographer, whose other known works include a plan of Bordeaux. Serres has dedicated the map to Mr Duffour Dubergier, the head of the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce, who on 5th April 1855, had ordered the official classification of Bordeaux wines.
To the upper right are inset plans of the Medoc region with chateaux’s marked, and coloured by ‘crus’, together with vignette views of Chateau Lafite, and Chateau Margaux. Below is an inset plan of the white wine region, together with vignette view of Chateau d’Yquem. To the lower right is a key to the crus, with the price range of each marked. To the lower left is a table of crus with their names, regions, and owners listed.
Rare we are unable to trace any institutional example of the present edition. The British Library has a 1856 (first?) edition and one dated 1868. Upon inspection of these two maps, housed within the the British Library reveals that the 1856 edition is approximately ten centimeters wider than the later edition. The present map conforms with the 1868 printing.
Scale: (approx.) 5mm to 1km.