Publication Date

Fall 2011


This paper examines ratings of Bordeaux wines from vintages spanning 1970 to 2005. We use ratings from three popular rating sources – Robert Parker (The Wine Advocate), Stephen Tanzer (International Wine Cellar), and Wine Spectator – to examine differences and consistencies in ratings. Our study is based on over 3, 100 ratings for château/vintage/rater combinations for the “classified growths” as identified in the 1855 Classification. We developed a regression model with rating scores as the depending variable and independent variables for raters, vintages, châteaux and rater-vintage. This model explains 64.6% of the variation in rating scores. We identify the performance of individual châteaux and use our findings to propose an update to the 1885 classification. Based on the ratings we examined, more than half of the 61 classified growths are misclassified, with some châteaux moving as many as three tiers upward or downward compared to the historical classification. While we believe it is unlikely that the classification will be changed, we believe that our proposed classification update (and our rank-ordering of the châteaux, particularly in relation to price-based orderings) can help guide wine purchase decisions of consumers and the restaurant industry.


Required Publisher Statement
© American Association of Wine Economists. Final version published as: Thompson, G., & Mutkoski, S. (2011). Reconsidering the 1855 Bordeaux classification of the Médoc and Graves using wine ratings from 1970–2005. Journal of Wine Economics, 6(1), 15-36. doi:10.1017/S1931436100001048
Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.