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2nd wines from cru classes or domaines


Quite good maybe but still confusing. If I’ve understood the article properly then a second wine is generally from different plots owned by the estate and second labels are produced from left over grapes whose quality doesn’t make the grade for the top wine.

However on that basis the second wines would appear to be better value in as much as they are not the ‘dreg’ of the better grapes. But the article seems to suggest the opposite stating that second wines are often over priced.

As I say all very confusing and I think, though am not sure, that even the article author has got themselves confused in places. For example, here is a complete 3 sentence paragraph:

Second label Bordeaux wines are always produced by the same technical team that produces the top wine. Second wines see much less new oak during the aging process. The majority of second label Bordeaux wines are made to be enjoyed most of the time, on release.

So should that second sentence be saying second label wines? If not then the sentence appears to be completely out of context in that paragraph.

And I’m also left rather with the impression that, without doing a bunch of your own homework, it’s impossible to say whether any particular wine is actually a second label or a second wine since it appears that they are often marketed with the wrong ‘label.’


Yeah that article was all over the place, maybe they can’t afford a sub editor :grin:


~ or should that be a second editor? :wink:

Technically, are all wines other than the named estate wines not “second labels”? Or of course third, fourth etc.? The AC regs relating to labelling of crus classés drive that, do they not?

The question then becomes whether that second label is the estate’s second wine. Some, such as Mouton Cadet may have been once, but hasn’t been that in my lifetime. It’s just a generic Bordeaux. Others may well be and are the estate’s second wine.

Maybe it would be safer just to say that the reasons for making second etc. wines vary from estate to estate. Some are wines they don’t want in the main wine, e.g. from young vines, barrels that didn’t turn out so well etc. Others may be a way of using up good wines that are from a grape that yielded disproportionately well and the chateau doesn’t want to over-use it for fear of changing the nature of the main wine blend too much. Others may put out a wine from a part of the estate that gives distictly different results to the rest. And no doubt etc. etc.

If they want to market a second wine of the estate then they have to design a second label for it.

All these considerations are independent of matters of style in the second wine, except in a secondary sense.


Thanks for that, as I said the article I really wanted to put up I couldn’t find, and on reflection the one I did I should not have.
Wiki explains the second wine…

but as you say that is not the whole story as some go outside the 1st cru vineyard for some of the grapes, and the whole thing gets messy, Mouto Cadet was indeed the second wine of Mouton - Rothschild long ago and there is no set definition of what grapes go into the second wine whereas in the past it was the grapes that were not quite up to standard for the 1st cru, and in many years the inferior wine from those grapes would be sold off anonymously, but now the second wines are big business and prices are rising accordingly.

I have never purchased a “second” wine so have no idea if they are real value or just trading on the first wines status, a bit of that must be involved, but with for example 2015 Carruades de Lafite selling for around £220 a bottle there may just be better wines out there for less, I have to admit to some suspicion of second wines now they are now the status quo for all the top flight wineries and selling for such inflated prices.
Once again I apologise for the confusing link, less haste more speed in the future.


Consensus here seems to be that it’s better to buy first wines from lesser properties.

I don’t have enough experience to comment myself… I have had some very nice Forts de Latour and Reserve de la Comtesse, but both of those are expensive (luckily I didn’t pay for either!).


This whole subject is really interesting to me.

It’s my 40th birthday in August and I have been collecting notable and favourite wines in 5 year intervals since 1979 to enjoy at a dinner. For 2004 I have Forts Latour. I will report back on that.

A few weeks ago I posted here in a midweek drinking thread about Reserve de la Comtesse 2014 which was good. I have also Pagodes de COS in the wine cabinet to try.

At a tasting at BBR a week or two ago I tried 2012 Baron de Brane and found it not to my liking versus 2014 Potensac which was a pound cheaper.