Home > History of Wine, Image > As the Crow Flies: Historic Images of “Les Quatre Premiers Grands Crus du Medoc”

As the Crow Flies: Historic Images of “Les Quatre Premiers Grands Crus du Medoc”


Pierre Aussel published his La Gironde a Vol d’Oiseau Ses Grands Vins et Ses Chateaux in 1865.[0]  This was a comprehensive treatment of the wines and vineyards of the Gironde that included history, production methods, and commerce.   Pierre Aussel then collaborated with Alfred Danflou in producing a second edition of his book.  Together they explored the vineyards and chateaux marveling at both the monumental and picturesque.  They were captivated by the crenellation, turrets, porticoes, and pinnacles such that they wondered why they had never seen photographs of the chateaux in a gallery.  They decided to capture “ces monuments ancients et moderns de notre viticulture national” as photographic art.  This effort was manifested in the first edition of Les Grands Crus Bordelais which was published in 1866 and focused on 15 of the first and second growth wines.[1]  The second edition was published one year later in an attempt to be complete.[2]  This edition spanned two volumes which covered the first, second, third, and fourth growths as well as Sauternes.

I have included images of the four first growths from both editions for comparison.   The photographs that appear in the first edition are more casual.  That of Chateau-Lafitte contains a road in the foreground where a horse and cart are stopped on the side.  The driver has turned his head to watch the photographer.  The photograph of Chateau Margaux was taken outside the gate and is slightly angled, leaving the sense of being an observer looking in.  The image of Chateau Haut Brion is of the now uncommon side.  The photographs in the second edition show more studious composition.  The name of Chateau Lafitte changed to Chateau Lafite.  The images are immersive with better perspective such as that of Chateau Latour that may have been taken on a ladder.  Chateau Margaux was photographed within the gate and Chateau Haut Brion now features the famous facade.  Please review the pictures I have included in this post but I strongly recommend you review the archive quality images referenced below.

Chateau-Lafitte a Pauillac

Chateau-Lafitte a Paulliac [1]

Chateau-Lafitte a Pauillac [1]

Chateau-Lafitte a Pauillac [2]

Chateau-Lafite a Pauillac [2]

Chateau-Latour a Pauillac

Chateau-Latour a Pauillac [1]

Chateau-Latour a Pauillac [1]

Chateau-Latour a Pauillac [2]

Chateau-Latour a Pauillac [2]

Chateau-Margaux a Margaux

Chateau-Margaux a Margaux [1]

Chateau-Margaux a Margaux [1]

Chateau-Margaux a Margaux [2]

Chateau-Margaux a Margaux [2]

Chateau Haut Brion a Pessac

Chateau Haut Brion a Pessac [1]

Chateau Haut Brion a Pessac [1]

Chateau Haut Brion a Pessac [2]

Chateau Haut Brion a Pessac [2]


[0] Aussel, . La Gironde a Vol d’Oiseau. 1865. URL: http://books.google.com/books?id=651AAQAAMAAJ&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false
[1] Danflou, Alred. Les Grands Crus Bordelais.  1866.  Gallica Bibliotheque Numerique. URL: http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b8625650m
[2] Danflou, Alred. Les Grands Crus Bordelais.  Premiere Part.  1867.  Gallica Bibliotheque Numerique. URL: http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b86256511

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