What Does it Mean to be a Grand Cru?

Château Du Parc has the honor of being one of Saint Émilion’s illustrious grand crus—but what exactly is a grand cru, and what does it mean for our wine?

Translated to mean “great growth,” grand cru is all about vineyards and the quality of their terroir. This title distinguishes a wine as one of the best in its region, judging by a criteria that varies between appellations.

Terroir refers to all the environmental factors that affect a vine’s growth including climate, soil type, and the other plants growing in or near the vineyard. Two separate terroirs occupy Château Du Parc’s 13.6 acres: gravel and sand-based vineyards to the south, and clay and limestone rich vineyards to the north. In order to achieve the grand cru title, winemakers like Château Du Parc’s Damien Landouar must balance many natural variables. For example, the age of the vine and the depth of the roots, which affect the intensity and body of the wine, must be in harmony with the vines’ elevation and sun exposure.

In Saint Émilion, each label in pursuit of the grand cru title must be grown on a committee-designated vineyard recognized for its superior terroir. Of the over 800 vineyards in the appellation, only about 200 enjoy this distinction.

This title, however, is not award based on terroir alone. Labels must also abide by certain growing and fermentation practices, perform well on the marketplace, and pass a blind-tasting quality test. These variables compose a 20-point test. To be a grand cru, a wine must score at least 14 points.

Emperor Napoleon III first introduced a classification system to Bordeaux wines in 1855. His goal was to recognize the best wines in the region for international showcasing. As a grand cru of Saint Émilion, Château Du Parc has joined the ranks of these many great wines throughout history.

Experience one of Saint Émilion’s finest. Find out where this grand cru is sold and served near you.