I know that a bottle bearing the Grand Cru moniker instantly commands the attention of even the snootiest sommelier, but...why? When our wine team decided to select 10 great Grand Cru wines for Gilt Taste (that launch today!), I decided to find out what all the fuss was about.
As it turns out, the term Grand Cru was first used in 1855, the year the Exposition Universelle was held on the Champs-Elysees in Paris. To prepare for the big fair, Napoleon III requested that the Bordeaux wines be ranked and displayed according to the reputation of the Château and trading price of the bottle (which, at that time, was a reliable indicator of quality). Amazingly, wines that were classified as Grand Cru back then are still classified as Grand Cru today.
Naturally, there is much debate about the validity of the classification (1855 was a long time ago!) but I love the idea of an old Château passionately working to craft wine worthy of its century-old title. It's like a Michelin-starred chef working to keep his stars, or a BBQ champion grilling to defend her blue-ribbon. What foodie wouldn't jump to dine at that restaurant or taste that BBQ? And the more I learn, the more enamored I am with the charming story behind Grand Cru, a tale that urges the opening of a bottle of wine and making a toast to tradition.
This video is the first in our series of wine chats between members of our tasting panel on the couch at Brooklyn winery. In this video, I think Ruth offers great advice for a novice wine drinker: “Forget about point ratings, forget about the rules and figure out what you want.”