Previously in our tasting group there was a discussion on Chateau Cantemerle. The majority opinion was that they were always included in the 1855 Classification, but there was a slight notion that they were a late addition. This isn’t particular subject that I knew a lot about and I did some research, but was unable to find very many sources. A number of outlets didn’t list any information about Cantemerle being a late addition to the 1855. However a couple did.
Below is what I was able to find out. The lack of consistent information is particularly interesting to me.
In Clive Coates "Grand Vins" on bordeaux, he says this about cantemerle. "Cantemerle only squeezed into the 1855 classification as an afterthought. Not only is it the last of the names, but it has been entered in an alien hand, close and precise, rather than the flowery script of the rest of the document. Others have already argued that its original omission was probably because the wine was not normally brokered on the bordeaux market. I see no reason to disagree with this reasoning." Page 292 Second Paragraph.
Stephen Brook's 'The Complete Bordeaux' says "...Cantemerle sold its entire crop directly to Dutch Merchants. This meant the growth was scarcely known within the Bordeaux region. However, With excellent timing, the then-owners offered the wine to the 'place de bordeaux' for the first time in 1954. The brokers were impressed by the wine, and, in the nick of time, Cantemerle was classified." Page 105 First Paragraph
The French Wine Society's French Wine Scholar Books say thusly "Although most are familiar with the relatively recent change to the Classification System of 1855(mouton in 73), there was one other alteration to the original document. While the Paris fair of 1855 was underway, the owner of Chateau Cantemerle, Mme. De Villeneuve-Durfort, petitioned the Bordeaux Brokers' Union for inclusion on the list. She produced sales records that proved the value of her wines (for such was the criteria for making the list) and was subsequently added to the fifth growths. (Her pricing had not been a matter of record as her wine had been sold directly from the Chateau to clients in the Netherlands at that time.)" It makes a special note as well stating specifically "Chateau Cantemerle (added to the classification in 1856)" Page 80 Appendix B
So i suppose my general question would be, Does anyone have other sources or information citing this change to the classification.
There is a book by Dewey Markham Jr. www.amazon.com/.../ref=sr_1_1 Its a bit pricey, does anyone have it or have access to its information?
I was also under the impression that Cantemerle had not been included in the original classification, but was add in 1856.
I usually go to The Wine Doctor for Bordeaux info. I wasn't aware of the Cantemerle caveat. Thanks!
Cantemerle was added in 1856.
I took a class on Bordeaux wines which pretty much mirrors the comments made in Stephen Brook's book. Cantemerle was at one time consumed almost entirely by the Dutch and the French market never really saw much of the wine. At the time of the 1855 classification, Cantemerle was left off of the list, not because it wasn't a good wine, but it was simply overlooked. When the wine merchants commissioned to create the classification realized their oversight, they added it to the list.
Another question than comes to mind. Why is the Court still teaching that there has only been one change in the 1855 classification, when indeed there have been two?
Good question....I'll address it with the Court...