Premier Cru vs Grand Cru – A Comprehensive Comparison to Wine Ranking

Premier Cru vs Grand Cru

Are you a fan of fine wines? Have you ever heard the terms Premier Cru and Grand Cru and wondered what the difference is? If so, you’re not alone. Many people are curious about the differences between Premier Cru and Grand Cru wines but don’t know where to turn for answers. In this blog post, we’ll explore these two wine classifications and provide an in-depth look at how they differ.

premier gru vs grand cru

Premier Cru and Grand Cru refer to two of the highest quality designations given to French wines produced in designated vineyards. These terms are used to determine which vineyard a wine comes from, as well as its overall quality. Premier Cru refers to “first growth,” while Grand Cru denotes “great growth.” Premier Cru wines are usually of very good quality and can come from a variety of different vineyards. Grand Cru, on the other hand, is only given to the best and most prestigious vineyards in France.

So what does this all mean for the wine drinker? Premier Cru wines are generally made with grapes from the highest quality vineyards in France and often offer great value for money compared to their Grand Cru counterparts. While Premier Crus tend to be more widely available, they may not always have as much complexity or character as a Grand Cru. On the other hand, Grand Crus are typically among some of the finest French wines available and can offer a unique drinking experience, unlike any other wine.

There’s a lot more to Premier Cru vs Grand Cru than what we’ve outlined here. To learn more about how these two wine classifications differ, read on for all the details.

So, What is Cru?

Cru is a French term that refers to ‘growth’ or ‘vineyard.’ In the world of wine, it is a classification system used to categorize wines based on where they are made and their overall quality. Premier Cru and Grand Cru are two levels of this classification, with Premier Cru indicating “first growth” and Grand Cru denoting “great growth.” Premier Crus are usually from vineyards of good quality and can come from various different regions, while Grand Crus come only from the most prestigious vineyards in France.

The cru designation not only tells you about the quality of the wine but also provides insight into its origin and history. By understanding the cru system, you can gain an appreciation for the unique character of each wine and make better-informed decisions when selecting a bottle to purchase.

In France, Premier Cru and Grand Cru wines are highly sought after. Premier Crus tend to offer great value for money compared to their more expensive Grand Cru counterparts, while Grand Crus provides a unique drinking experience that cannot be replicated in any other type of wine. Ultimately, it’s up to you as a consumer to decide which type best suits your palate and budget. No matter what you choose, both Premier Cru and Grand Cru wines offer an unforgettable flavor and experience.

Definition of Premier Cru

Premier Cru refers to “first growth,” and is a classification given to French wines produced in designated vineyards. Premier Cru wines are usually of very good quality, yet still approachable and affordable for the everyday wine drinker. They can come from different vineyards, but all must meet certain standards set by the local viticulture authority. Premier Crus tend to have a balance between fruitiness, acidity, tannin structure, and alcohol content. These qualities make them enjoyable both on their own and when paired with food.

Definition of Premier Cru

Grand Cru is the highest designation used to classify French wines and refers to “great growth”. These wines are produced in the most prestigious vineyards in France and offer an unrivaled drinking experience. Grand Crus generally have more complexity, intensity, and age-ability than Premier Crus. They also tend to be more expensive due to the high-quality grapes used and the lengthy aging process that is required to make them.

what is cru

In addition to offering a unique flavor profile, Grand Crus also has excellent cellaring potential, meaning they can often improve with age if stored correctly. This makes them great choices for those looking for something special for their wine cellar or as a gift for someone who appreciates fine wines. Ultimately, when it comes to Premier Cru vs Grand Cru, it’s up to you to decide which is right for you. Both offer their own unique qualities and can be enjoyed in a variety of ways.

Cru Systems in France

In France, each region will have a different hierarchy of Cru. Therefore, in this section, we will clarify, especially the two famous regions, which are Burgundy and Bordeaux.

Cru in Burgundy

In Burgundy, Premier Cru is designated to wines from vineyards that offer excellent quality and good value. These wines display a balanced flavor profile with high levels of sophistication. Premier Crus can come from various regions in Burgundy and tend to be more affordable than their Grand Cru counterparts.

Grand Crus are the highest level of classification for Burgundy wines and are generally considered some of the best wines in the world. They feature intense flavors, complex aromas, and a long-lasting finish on the palate. Generally speaking, these wines will have higher alcohol content and tannin structure than Premier crus and tend to be much more expensive.

Here’s Burgundy’s Cru Hierarchy:

  • Premier Cru
  • Grand Cru
  • “Village” wines
  • Bourgogne

Cru System in Bordeaux

In Bordeaux, cru is applied much differently than in other wine-producing regions. The most well-known classification system is Grand Cru Classé, which is attached to a specific estate or château rather than an entire vineyard. This system was set up in 1855 and only features left bank châteaux in Médoc, Graves, and Sauternes that are ranked from first to fifth growths based on their value at the time. The best of these are called Premiers Crus while the second through fifth growths are called Crus Classés.

On the right bank, Saint-Émilion has two château-based classifications of quality – Premier Grands Crus Classés (18 châteaux) and Grands Crus Classés (64 châteaux). The third category is not tied to a single “classed” château or geographical subzone but instead follows stricter production rules. Wines labeled simply as St.-Émilion Grand Cru fit into this category.

In both the left and right banks of Bordeaux, cru designates exceptional quality with an emphasis on the characteristics of each individual estate rather than vineyard-wide distinctions. They are typically some of the most expensive wines produced in France, making them highly sought-after amongst wine connoisseurs.

Differences Between Premier Cru and Grand Cru

When it comes to French wines, Premier Cru and Grand Cru are two of the highest classifications. While both offer an exceptional drinking experience, there are some key differences that can help you determine which is right for your needs. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between Premier Cru and Grand Cru.

Quality of Wine

When it comes to wine quality, Grand Cru wines are generally considered to be of the best quality. They are usually produced with meticulous care and attention to detail in order to ensure the highest possible level of quality. These wines typically have intense flavors, complex aromas, and a long-lasting finish on the palate due to their high alcohol content and tannin structure. Consequently, they can often improve with age if stored correctly making them ideal for cellaring or as a special gift for someone who appreciates fine wines.

In comparison, Premier Cru wines also offer excellent quality and value but may not share the same intensity and complexity as Grand Crus. Typically made from grapes grown in single vineyards located within certain regions in Burgundy, Premier Crus will display a more balanced flavor profile with subtle nuances of complexity. These wines may not improve with age as much as Grand Cru varieties, but they offer good value and are generally easier to find than their top-tier counterparts due to their wider availability.


When it comes to price, Grand Cru wines tend to be far more expensive than Premier Crus. This is because these top-tier wines are produced using grapes from very specific vineyards that produce small quantities of highly sought-after wines. As such, demand for these wines often outstrips supply making them some of the most expensive in France, sometimes even reaching upwards of thousands of euros per bottle.

In comparison, Premier Cru wines tend to be more affordable with prices ranging from a few hundred euros per bottle up to several thousand, depending on the region and vintage. These wines offer excellent quality at a fraction of the cost of Grand Cru varieties making them ideal for those looking for an affordable yet still high-quality option. As such, they are often seen as a great introduction to French wine culture and the perfect way to get your feet wet before diving deeper into the world of top-tier French wines.

Overall Grand Cru and Premier Cru are two of the highest classifications when it comes to French wines. While both offer an exceptional drinking experience, there are some key differences between them in terms of quality and price that should be considered before making a purchase. Grand Crus tend to offer intense flavors, complex aromas, and a long-lasting finish on the palate but come at a high cost while Premier Crus are more balanced and offer good value with prices that range from a few hundred euros up to several thousand.

Ultimately, it all comes down to personal preference and what you’re looking for in terms of price and quality. Whichever you choose, you can be sure to enjoy a truly exceptional French wine-drinking experience.

Worldwide Wine Classifications

While France is well known for its top-tier French wines such as Premier Cru and Grand Cru, other countries have their own unique wine classifications that reflect the individual characteristics of each region’s wines. These include Germany’s Prädikat system, Italy’s DOCG classifications, Spain’s Denominación de Origen, and the United States American Viticultural Areas.

In Germany, wines are classified according to their sweetness level with each classification having specific legal requirements that must be met in order for a wine to bear its respective designation. Wines can range from Kabinett (light-bodied dry wines) all the way up to Trockenbeerenauslese (sweet dessert wines).

In Italy, wines can be classified as DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) which is the highest classification given to Italian wines that meet specific production and quality criteria. These include strict regulations on yield, grape variety, and production methods.

In Spain, wines can be classified as Denominación de Origen (DO), which is the highest classification given to Spanish wines that meet certain legal requirements such as minimum alcohol content, vintage designation, and specific labeling requirements.

Finally, in the United States wine producers may receive the American Viticultural Area (AVA) designation for wines produced in a distinct geographical area with unique characteristics. This classification is based on climatic, soil, and terrain factors that make the region suitable for the production of certain types of grapes.

Overall, each country has its own unique wine classifications that reflect the individual characteristics and qualities of the wines produced in that region. Whether you’re looking for a top-tier French wine or something from another country, it’s important to understand the different classifications in order to make an informed choice when selecting a bottle of wine.

Advantages of Investing in Grand Cru Wines

When it comes to investing in fine wines, many people think of Bordeaux and Burgundy. But for those looking for an extra special wine portfolio, Grand Cru wines are the perfect investment. Here are some reasons why you should consider investing in Grand Cru wines:

Quality and Age-ability

Grand Cru wines are some of the highest-quality wines available on the market today. They are known for their complexity and age-ability. This means that they will develop more nuanced flavors over time, making them more valuable and desirable as they age.

Rarity and Limited Production

Advantages of Investing in Grand Cru Wines

Grand Cru wines also have limited production which makes them rarer than other varieties of wine. This makes them very attractive to investors who want a unique investment option with the potential for high returns over time.

Investment Potential

Grand Cru wines offer tremendous potential when it comes to increasing their value over time. As demand increases and supply remains limited, these investments can experience impressive appreciation over time.

Investing in Grand Cru wines is a great way to diversify your portfolio while also enjoying some of the most exquisite bottles around. If you’re looking for an exciting and potentially lucrative investment opportunity, look no further than investing in Grand Cru wine!

Grand Cru Classification in Major Wine-Producing Regions

The French wine classification system is considered one of the most influential and important systems that exist today. It categorizes select vineyards as “Grand Cru”, or the highest quality level of wine based on various factors such as grape variety, terroir, and winemaking skill. Here is a look at some of the major wine-producing regions where Grand Cru wines can be found:


Burgundy has been known for its high-quality Grand Cru wines since the 1700s. The region is divided into six sub-regions which all have their own unique appellation rules. The top-level Burgundian appellations are labeled as “Grand Cru”, with each having a unique flavor profile and characteristics due to their varied terroirs.

Number of Grand Cru vineyards in Burgundy: 33


Bordeaux has one of the oldest and most established classifications in France. There are two distinct classifications in this region, with over 70 designations labeled as “Grand Cru Classe” or simply “Grand Cru”. They include both red and white varieties, each with its own distinct taste profiles depending on where they are grown.

The number of Grand Cru vineyards in Bordeaux: 16


Alsace has 2 Grand Cru AOCs (Appellations d’Origine Controlée) – Alsace Grand Cru Schoenenbourg and Alsace Grand Cru Osterberg – both made exclusively from Riesling grapes, which makes them particularly rare and valuable. These wines have intense aromas, flavors, and age-ability, making them highly sought after among serious collectors and investors alike.

The number of Grand Cru vineyards in Alsace: 51

These are just a few examples of regions that produce Grand Cru wines around the world – from Germany to Italy to California – all of which offer unique flavors and investment potential. Whether you are looking for an exciting new addition to your portfolio or just want to enjoy some exquisite terroir-driven bottles, investing in these grand cru wines is sure to bring much joy!


What Does Premier Cru Mean in Wine?

Premier Cru is a French wine term that refers to a specific level of quality for grapes and wines. Premier Cru wines are made from grapes grown in the best vineyard sites with superior terroir, soil, and climate conditions. These wines typically have more complexity, aroma, and flavor than lesser-quality wines.

In France, Premier Cru wines are required to be aged in oak barrels for at least 12 months before they can be released onto the market. The aging process helps to bring out even more complexity and depth of flavor in the wine. Outside of France, many countries use their own rating system for determining the quality of a given wine, but “Premier Cru” is still widely considered one of the highest-quality designations.

When selecting a wine with the Premier Cru designation, it is important to research the specific vineyard and producer in order to gain an understanding of the quality of their wines. With such high-quality grapes and winemaking techniques, these wines typically carry higher price tags than lesser-quality bottles but can still be well worth the investment for those who are looking for something special. Whether you’re looking for fine French wines or great value selections from around the world, look out for the “Premier Cru” designation and you’ll be sure to find something truly outstanding.

What Makes a Wine a Grand Cru?

A Grand Cru wine is a wine that has been officially recognized as a superior quality product. These wines must meet certain criteria in order to be given the designation of Grand Cru. This includes the grape varieties used, terroir, and vinification methods as well as age requirements. To qualify for this classification, these factors must all meet stringent standards set by the governing body responsible for wine production in that specific region. The outcome meeting these criteria results in a truly exceptional product with an extraordinary level of character and complexity. Grand Cru wines are often amongst the most expensive and sought-after items on many restaurant or retail shelves due to their high quality and limited availability.

Grand Cru wines are made from grapes exclusively from the particular vineyard in which it is produced, making them the most terroir-expressive wines available. The quality and character of these vineyards vary greatly between regions and producers, meaning that some Grand Cru wines are far superior to others. Producing a Grand Cru wine requires an intense level of skill and dedication by the winemaker as they must strive to meet the highest standards in order to produce a truly exceptional product. In addition, due to their limited availability and strict production guidelines, Grand Cru wines are typically more expensive than other types of wine.

Although not all Grand Cru wines will be considered exceptionally good or worth the price tag, many have been revered for centuries for their unique characteristics, complexity, and longevity. Collectors and connoisseurs often pay a premium for these wines due to their rare quality and extraordinary flavor. Ultimately, the true test of a Grand Cru wine is in its taste: if it meets certain standards that make it superior to other types of wine, then it can rightly be considered a Grand Cru.

What Are the 4 Classifications of Wine?

The 4 main classifications of wine are red, white, rose, and sparkling. Red wines are the most popular type of wine and can range from light-bodied to full-bodied in flavor. White wines tend to be lighter in body with a fresh, crisp taste. Rose wines have a pink color that comes from the process of pressing grapes for both red and white varieties. Lastly, sparkling wines are made through a carbonation process and come in both sweet and dry varieties. Each type of wine has its own distinct flavor profile that makes them unique from one another. Whether you prefer a bolder flavor or something more subtle, there is sure to be something for everyone!

No matter what type of wine you enjoy drinking, it is important to understand the four main classifications of wine in order to make an educated decision on what type works best for you. With so many varieties available, it can be difficult to determine which one suits your taste buds the most. Taking the time to learn about each classification and its individual flavor profiles will help ensure that you are choosing a wine that you truly enjoy!

What are the 5 S’s in Wine Tasting?

The 5 S’s in wine tasting are See, Swirl, Sniff, Sip, and Savor. By engaging each of the senses with these five steps, you can fully appreciate the qualities of a particular wine.

When looking at a glass of wine to evaluate its color or clarity, this is referred to as Seeing. Swirling the glass gently around it will release aromas that can be detected by one’s nose upon Sniffing. Then it is time for the most important step – actually sampling the taste of the wine by taking a small but decisive sip. Finally comes perhaps the most enjoyable part – Savoring; where we get to experience what all that swirling and sniffing has been leading up to – taking in the taste, texture, and finish of the wine.

With these 5 S’s, you can fully appreciate any wine and learn how to detect subtle flavors, aromas, and distinctions in one glass. It may take some practice but with a little patience and dedication, you will soon be able to connoisseur-level your way through any tasting.

What are the Five Most Popular Wines?

1. Cabernet Sauvignon: This red wine is one of the most popular wines in the world. It is made from a dark-skinned grape variety and has a full-bodied flavor with notes of black currant, oak, and spice.

2. Chardonnay: Another widely enjoyed white wine, Chardonnay features flavors of apple, peach, and citrus fruits. It also has distinct notes of buttery oak that come from aging in wooden barrels.

3. Merlot: A popular red wine, Merlot offers aromas of cherries and plums along with hints of chocolate and spices. Its soft tannins make it an easy drinker for any occasion.

4. Pinot Grigio: This light-bodied white wine offers a vibrant and refreshing flavor with notes of citrus, green apple, and herbs. It pairs well with fish or poultry dishes.

5. Sauvignon Blanc: A popular white wine, Sauvignon Blanc has zesty aromas of grassy herbs and ripe fruits like grapefruit. It is known for its crisp acidity which makes it a great match for salads or seafood dishes.

What is America’s Favorite Red Wine?

Merlot is America’s favorite red wine according to a survey conducted by Wine Spectator in 2017. Merlot has always been considered an easy-drinking, approachable wine with flavors of dark fruit and spice. It pairs well with a variety of dishes making it the perfect choice for any occasion. Its popularity continues to grow in the U.S., as more people are discovering its flavor profile and versatility. Not only is Merlot a great everyday drinker but it’s also capable of producing some truly outstanding wines that can rival even the most prestigious Cabernet Sauvignons or Pinot Noirs. The future looks bright for this beloved varietal and we look forward to tasting its growing presence in our glasses!

Merlot can be found in many price points, from an affordable bottle to a splurge-worthy occasion. Whether you’re looking for a great house wine or something special for your next dinner party, Merlot has something for everyone. So pour yourself a glass and enjoy the smooth flavors of this classic red wine!

What is the Lowest Classification of Wine?

The lowest classification of wine is table wine. Table wines are typically made with simple production methods, and they can range in color from white to rosé and red. Most table wines tend to be low in alcohol content, usually between 10-12% ABV; although some may contain higher amounts. Table wines typically come from a variety of different grape varieties, but generally have less complexity than other more expensive styles of wine. They are ideal for casual sipping and pairing with food, often available at lower prices compared to other types of wine. Examples of popular table wines include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.

Table wines are often confused with Vin de Table or VdT. This is a type of French wine that does not meet the standards for AOC (Appellation d’Origine Controlee) wines, which are controlled by strict regulations regarding where and how the grapes were grown, as well as labeling and aging requirements. While there are some exceptions to this rule, many VdT wines fall into the table wine category due to their lack of complexity and lower quality.

Table wines can offer great value for money when you’re looking for an easy-drinking wine that doesn’t break the bank. They can make an ideal choice for casual get-togethers or dinners, as well as for sipping and pairing with food. While they may not offer the complexity or character of some higher-end wines, table wines are a great way to enjoy a good glass without breaking the bank.


As we have seen, Grand Cru and Premier Cru are two of the highest classifications of French wines, both offering an unparalleled drinking experience. While Grand Crus offers intense flavors and great complexity and a long-lasting finish on the palate, they come at a high cost that can sometimes be prohibitive.

On the other hand, Premier Crus still offer excellent quality but tend to be more balanced and more reasonably priced for anyone looking for value in their purchases. So depending on your budget and desired level of sophistication, you have options. As always, just make sure you know what you’re getting before making your purchase – understanding the differences between Grand Cru and Premier Crus can help save you some money in the long run.

Thank you for joining me on this exploration of Grand Cru and Premier Crystal French wines. I hope that this post has helped give you a better understanding of these exceptional grades of wine so that when it comes time to buy a bottle or two, you’ll have all the information needed to make sure it’s one you will love! Visit our Website for more interesting articles.

Rate this post

Leave a Comment