>> Tuesday, November 02, 2010
In the olden times there was something called the Cru Bourgeois classification in Médoc (Bordeaux). But then, in 2003, they decided to review and modernise the classification. But unfortunately they hit on some road bumps. Some, who were left out of the classification were unhappy and thought that the procedure had not been fair. Eventually, the courts seem to have agreed and the new Cru Bourgeois classification was annulled. Rest in peace Cru Bourgeois. But now Cru Bourgeois has come to life again. But this time it is not a classification – classification is a very official term in French wine regions – but a “selection”. There are many difference compared to the old classification system. The biggest change is no doubt that the label does not apply to a chateau, but for a single vintage from a specific chateau and will be awarded, as appropriate, each year. It is only producers in the eight Médoc appellations that will be eligible for the Cru Bourgeois label. The awarding process is in three steps: 1) The property and the vinification facilities will be inspected at regular intervals (spanning several years). 2) Each vintage will be assessed by a tasting committee that will evaluate the quality and style of each vintage. 3) The wine producers can then for each vintage (two years after the harvest) apply to receive the label Cru Bourgeois (CB). Those who apply will be tasted blind and if certain set minimum requirements are attained they will be give CB – for that particular wine/vintage.
In other words: A chateaux can one year make a Cru Bourgeois wine and the next fail to attain CB status. It is indeed an unusual procedure for a wine region. It more resembles a traditional wine competition like the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles or then International Wine Challenge than a classification. They award medals for a particular wine of a specific vintage. If we understand it right the chateau can only use CB on the label for a particular vintage.