Cru Bourgeois classification criteria confirmed
The alliance DES Crus Bourgeois du Médoc has confirmed its reinstatement of the traditional three-tier classification system, comprising rankings of Cru Bourgeois, Cru Bourgeois Supérieur and Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel.
Due to take effect in 2020, the classification will be reviewed every five years, meaning it will be possible for a château to move up or down within the hierarchy.
‘We have learned a lot from the past and we are confident this will benefit the châteaux, trade and consumers,’ said Alliance director frédérique Dutheillet de lamothe, at a london press conference in october.
‘The new classification maintains the quality and origin of the Crus Bourgeois du Médoc. It is the result of five years of work in consultation with all the members of the Crus Bourgeois and the [french] government.’
In 2003, the system was reshaped to recognise 247 châteaux made up of nine Crus Bourgeois Exceptionnels, 87 Crus Bourgeois Supérieurs and 151 Crus Bourgeois. however, it was scrapped in 2007 after a series of appeals by disgruntled châteaux.
In 2010, the Alliance responded to the debacle by creating a governmentbacked verification procedure in which wines were selected, all with ‘Cru Bourgeois’ status, in blind tastings by a panel of experts. It published its first ‘official selection’ based on the 2008 vintage, and has done so every year since.
The revived three-tier system will follow a similar procedure, carried out by a body of expert tasters. for 2020, châteaux can submit a choice of five vintages from 2008 to 2016. The 2025 classification will encompass vintages from 2017 to 2021.
The classification will take into account ‘quality, consistency and the capacity of the wine to age’ for the top tiers, while also considering other agricultural, environmental and technical factors, plus site visits.
Above: Alliance des Crus Bourgeois du Médoc director Frédérique Dutheillet de Lamothe, pictured in Paris