2020 Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion, Pessac-Leognan, Bottle (750ml) RP100/JD99/LP99
2018 Chateau Leoville-Las Cases 'Grand Vin de Leoville', Saint-Julien, Bottle (750ml) JD100/RP99
2018 Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion, Pessac-Leognan, Bottle (750ml) JD100/LP100
2015 Chateau Pichon-Longueville au Baron de Pichon-Longueville, Pauillac, Bottle (750ml) DR99/JD98
2015 Chateau Palmer, Margaux, Bottle (750ml) JS100
2014 Chateau Pichon-Longueville au Baron de Pichon-Longueville, Pauillac, Bottle (750ml) LP96/JD95/JS95
2010 Chateau Palmer, Margaux, Magnum (1.5L) RP98+/DR98/JS98
2010 Chateau Leoville-Las Cases, Grand Vin, Saint-Julien, Bottle (750ml) DR100/WE100/WS99
2005 Chateau Palmer, Margaux, Bottle (750ml) RP98
2001 Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion, Pessac-Leognan, Bottle (750ml) RP96
2000 Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion, Pessac-Leognan, Case of 12 btls RP100
1998 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac, Bottle (750ml)
1996 Chateau Pichon Baron Second Growth, Deuxieme Grand Cru Classe, Pauillac, Bottle (750ml) VM94
1996 Chateau Leoville-Las Cases 'Grand Vin de Leoville', Saint-Julien, Bottle (750ml) RP98
1995 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac, Bottle (750ml) RP96
1990 Chateau Pichon Lalande, Pauillac, Bottle (750ml) WS94
1990 Chateau Montrose, Saint-Estephe, Case of 12 btls RP100
1990 Chateau Lynch-Bages, Pauillac, Bottle (750ml) RP99/VM97
1990 Chateau Lynch-Bages, Pauillac, Bottle (750ml) [Top Shoulder] RP99/VM97
1990 Chateau Lynch-Bages, Pauillac, Bottle (750ml) [Slightly Scuffed Label] RP99/VM97
1989 Chateau Pichon-Longueville Baron, Pauillac, Bottle (750ml) [WS #1 WOTY] JS99/RP97
1989 Chateau Pichon Lalande, Pauillac, Bottle (750ml) [Nicked Label] AG96
1989 Chateau Pichon Lalande, Pauillac, Bottle (750ml) AG96
1989 Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion, Pessac-Leognan, Bottle (750ml) RP100/VM100/WS100
1988 Chateau Pichon Lalande, Pauillac, [Ex Chateau 2022 Release], Bottle (750ml)
1988 Chateau Pichon Lalande, Pauillac,  [Ex Chateau 2022 Release], Case of 6 btls
1985 Chateau Pichon Lalande, Pauillac, Bottle (750ml) [Slightly Nicked Label] LP94
1985 Chateau Pichon Lalande, Pauillac, Bottle (750ml) LP94
1983 Chateau Pichon Lalande, Pauillac, Bottle (750ml)
1982 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou, Saint-Julien, Bottle (750ml) RP97/JD97
1978 Chateau Leoville-Las Cases 'Grand Vin de Leoville', Saint-Julien, Bottle (750ml) WS94
1978 Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion, Pessac-Leognan, Bottle (750ml) JS99

Unveiling Bordeaux's "Super Seconds": Exceptional Estates Beyond the 1855 Classification

A "Super Second" is an informal title given to Bordeaux estates that consistently produce wines rivaling the esteemed First Growths in quality and aging potential but at a lower price point.

Super Second Bordeaux

You may have come across the term "Super Second Bordeaux" before, but what exactly does it mean? A "Super Second" is an informal title given by wine experts to distinguish Bordeaux estates that consistently outperform their original 1855 classification. These Chateaux can compete with the esteemed First Growths in terms of quality and aging potential while being much lighter on the pocketbook.

Super Second Vs. First Growth

If quality were the sole determinant for classifying these Chateaux, the current First Growth list would look significantly different. Like Classified First Growths, the majority of these Super Second Chateaux consistently score between 95-100 points (depending on the vintage), command higher prices than classified Second Growths, possess state-of-the-art facilities, and have a reputation for consistently producing world-class wines. However, unlike the classified First Growths, these Super Seconds offer much more value to collectors and connoisseurs in terms of price.

Potential for Promotion

These Super Seconds certainly deserve special consideration, and it wouldn't be out of the question for them to be promoted. These producers belong to an exclusive category, and apart from an unofficial designation and insider knowledge, there isn't any other way to differentiate them. The list of Super Second Chateaux remains fairly consistent, although slight variations may occur depending on who you ask. The deserving candidates for the Super Second title are:

Chateau La Mission Haut Brion

Chateau Leoville Las Cases

Chateau Pichon Lalande

Chateau Montrose

Chateau Cos d'Estournel

Chateau Pichon Baron

Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou

Chateau Palmer - 3rd Growth

Chateau Lynch-Bages - 5th Growth

You might wonder why these exceptional Chateaux haven't been promoted if they consistently match the standards set by the First Growths. This is because the original 1855 Classification of Bordeaux has undergone only three amendments since its inception. The most significant change was in 1973 when Chateau Mouton Rothschild was promoted to First Growth, which came after years of influential lobbying by Philippe de Rothschild. Many collectors and connoisseurs argue that it's time for a re-evaluation of the 1855 classification. If that were to happen, it's highly likely that these "Super Seconds" would ascend in rank.

Notable "Super Second" Contenders

There are a few Chateaux that some might consider as Super Seconds, but we believe they fall just outside the unofficial designation. They are:

Chateau Leoville Poyferre

Château Leoville-Barton

Chateau Pontet Canet - 5th Growth

Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte

It's worth noting that Pontet Canet, a classified Fifth Growth, has recently outperformed its previous classification and is generally regarded as one of Bordeaux's preeminent estates.

Classification Complexity

The topic of Bordeaux classification may seem complex, particularly when considering the 1855 classification and the question “is it outdated?” However, if we view the classification as a whole, it remains quite accurate. Considering the age of the document and the changes in winemaking practices over time, the results are remarkably consistent. While the 1855 classification is not flawless, it represents the initial attempt to rank Bordeaux Chateaux by importance and is not far from where these estates stand today.

Quality and Value

Fortunately, fellow collectors and connoisseurs have taken matters into their own hands and established the unofficial designation of "Super Seconds." Although unofficial, this term helps identify producers that have elevated the quality of their wines and have surpassed their original 1855 classification. In essence, the Chateaux that earn the title of Super Second may vary depending on who you ask. Most of these wines rival the First Growths in terms of quality and occasionally outperform them. They possess similar aging capabilities while offering a more affordable price point. When you consider all these factors, you have wines that not only over-deliver when consumed but also provide collectors with excellent investment opportunity. It's time to add some of these Super Seconds to your cellar and enjoy their prestige!

Written by: Craig Headding

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