India's First Wine, Food and Hospitality Website, INDIAN WINE ACADEMY, Specialists in Food & Wine Programmes. Food Importers in Ten Cities Across India. Publishers of delWine, India’s First Wine.
Skip Navigation Links
About Us
Indian Market
Wine & Health
Wine Events
Retail News
Contact Us
Skip Navigation Links
Wine Tourism
Book Review
Photo Gallery
Readers' Comments
Video Wall
Media Partners
Ask Wineguyindia
Wine & Food
Wine Guru
Gerry Dawes
Harvest Reports
Mumbai Reports
Advertise With Us
US Report on Indian Market Released
Top Ten Importers List 2015-16
On Facebook
On Twitter
Delhi Wine Club
Reincarnation of Cru Bourgeois from 2008

Posted: Saturday, 25 September 2010 15:27

Reincarnation of Cru Bourgeois from 2008

The well-known but controversial Cru Bourgeois denomination of Bordeaux was reincarnated on Thursday last in a new avatar in which any chateau in Médoc can now apply to use the classification which is controlled by a tasting team of wine professionals rather than producers, giving it a better chance of survival.

After about 3 years of working under total secrecy, Frederique de Lamothe, the director of Alliance des Cru Bourgeois du Medoc announced the results on Thursday. She took pains to explain that unlike the previous occasions when it was a classification assigned to the chateaux as with the 1855 classification, this would be an annually renewable quality assessment.

The original Cru Bourgeois classification had run into legal quagmire when it is updated in 2003, eliminating 78 producers. A bitter court fight ensued resulting in legal scuttling of the whole system.

The new listing comes into effect with the 2008 Vintage and was undertaken by the Alliance, a professional body representing Crus Bourgeois du Médoc when Thierry Gardinier of Chateau Phélan Segur was the President. When Phélan Segur withdrew from this new classification earlier this month, he resigned before his term that was to expire in 2012 and Frédéric de Luze, owner of Margaux- based Chateau Paveil de Luze took over.

For the new classification a panel has been drawn with paid wine professionals who are not from the chateaux. The group has set up a benchmark for the  wines against which all the 290 wines which applied for Cru Bourgeois status have to perform. This benchmark may be adjusted every year depending upon the vintage quality but will be same for everyone as the wines will be tasted blind between March and July every year. Interestingly, barrel samples will only be tasted with a part of the wines to be tasted at random from the shelves of the retailers.

The new system eliminates the earlier categories like Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel and Superieur.  This had made a group of disenchanted owners of former Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel, including Chateau Chasse Spleen, Chateau Les Ormes de Pez, Chateau de Pez, Chateau Potensac, Chateau Poujeaux and Chateau Siran break away from the Alliance in May this year, in order to form their own Association, as reported by Decanter.
However, nobody gives this system to survive very long unless some hierarchy based on quality and the existing prices in the market are introduced. Those producing higher quality Crus would be strongly pushing for this amendment.

Cru Bourgeois in its new format was revived last December with the ratification of the classification system by the French Ministries for Agriculture and Consumer Protection. Bureau Veritas, an independent entity, will evaluate and regularly check to ensure that the candidates meet a range of criteria, including the condition of the grounds, vineyards and winemaking facilities. The agency will also oversee blind tastings of every vintage submitted to the jury of Bordeaux professionals.

Cru Bourgeois has now become a stamp of approval, rather than a classification. The Alliance represents about 300 Médoc châteaux who are behind the programme. It was desperately looking for a solution after the courts annulled the 2007 classification. Since 1932, there was an unofficial classification of 444 Médoc properties, designated by the powerful Bordeaux wine brokers. With the creation of official classification, some of the unsuccessful applicants had gone to court which set aside the list.

This time however, the 290 producers applied afresh to be allowed the use of this classification. The higher-ranking denominations proposed from 2003- Cru Bourgeois Supérieur and Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel have been set aside for the moment. Therefore many châteaux previously using these terms are disgruntled and do not wish to be associated with the new system.

The 1855 classification was drawn up in 1855 when Napoleon asked for a classification for top Bordeaux wines for an Exposition Universelle in Paris. In hierarchy,
Cru Bourgeois follows these Grands Crus denominating Five Growths and is followed by Cru Artisan, Bordeaux Superior and Bordeaux AOC.

Cru Bourgeois is actually one of the oldest classifications in the wine industry dating back to the early thirteenth century when France was under the rule of King John of England. In 1203 the English King exempted the merchants of Bordeaux from the Grande Coutume, the main export tax. In return, the ‘bourgeois’ of the principal regions pledged to support the King against the King of France. As a result the merchants of Gascony established a monolpoly on the English market that led to the birth of Crus Bourgeois du Médoc, reports the Wall Street Journal.

It gained ground in the thirties when the Bordeaux brokers under the authority of the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce and Chamber of Agriculture drew up a list of 444 properties which remained in place for more than six decades even though it was never  ratified by the governmental authorities.

Since it is based on quality rather than classification, Cru Bourgeois post 2008 will offer a viable alternative to wine connoisseurs in India, who love good quality French wines but are reluctant to pay the heavy prices charged by many of the top growths. The classification merely complements the top Chateaux.

The readers of delWine are always advised to look for the Second wines of First Growths and the Chateau wines of the Second Growths, besides many in the third-to-fifth growths, based on their individual taste and experience. But the new ‘classification’ announced a couple of days ago will come in quite handy and will add to the options available.

List of Chateaux- Crus Bourgeois du Médoc


Want to Comment ?
Please enter your comments in the space provided below. If there is a problem, please write directly to Thank you.

Generate a new image

Type letters from the image:

Please note that it may take some time to get your comment published...Editor

Wine In India, Indian Wine, International Wine, Asian Wine Academy, Beer, Champagne, World Wine Academy, World Wine, World Wines, Retail, Hotel


Copyright©indianwineacademy, 2003-2020 |All Rights Reserved
Developed & Designed by Sadilak SoftNet