Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What is a Bordeaux Cru Bourgeois? France

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller with Didier Cuvalier, Owner of Chateau Le Crock (and of Chateau Leoville Poyferre) in Medoc. The 2010 Chateau Le Crock qualified for the Cru Bourgeois Label. In the (Annulled) 2003 Classification, it was a Cru Bourgeois Superieur

When people hear Bordeaux Cru Bourgeois, they typically think of the Cru Bourgeois system of the Medoc. Indeed, this is the most important Cru Bourgeois system. However, the Cru Bourgeois system is also used in Sauternes, Côtes-de-Bourg and Blaye in Bordeaux, but nowhere else.

Not the Crus of the Aristocrats, but the Crus of the Bourgeoisie

In the 18th century, before the French Revolution (1789–99), in the French feudal order, the bourgeoisie was the class of common people, who had become rich, as opposed to the clergy and the aristocrats. Generally speaking, the Cru Bourgeois classification encompasses the group of chateaux in the second class, below the top chateaux.

Cru Bourgeois in Medoc

The Cru Bourgeois Classification of 1932

The first Cru Bourgeois list was drawn up by the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce and Chamber of Agriculture in 1932, selecting 444 estates from the Medoc for the classification. These were wines that were not included in the 1855 Classification of Crus Classes, but still of high quality. This classification remained unchanged for all of the 20th century.

The Cru Bourgeois Classification of 2003 (Annulled)

A new classification was introduced in 2003 by the Alliance des Crus Bourgeois, but later annulled. Of the 490 châteaux that submitted to the new classification, only 247 were included, a significant contraction of the original listing made in 1932.

The 2003 Cru Bourgeois classification classified the 247 properties in three tiers: Exceptionnel (9 properties), Supérieurs (87 properties) and straight Bourgeois (151 properties).

Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel

•    Ch. Chasse-Spleen
•    Ch. Haut-Marbuzet
•    Ch. Labégorce-Zédé
•    Ch. Les Ormes de Pez
•    Ch. de Pez
•    Ch. Phélan-Ségur
•    Ch. Potensac
•    Ch. Poujeaux
•    Ch. Siran

Cru Bourgeois Supérieur

•    Ch. d'Agassac
•    Ch. d'Angludet
•    Ch. Anthonic
•    Ch. d'Arche
•    Ch. Arnauld
•    Ch. d'Arsac
•    Ch. Beaumont
•    Ch. Beau-Site
•    Ch. Biston-Brillette
•    Ch. Le Boscq
•    Ch. Bournac
•    Ch. Brillette
•    Ch. Cambon La Pelouse
•    Ch. Cap Léon Veyrin
•    Ch. La Cardonne
•    Ch. Caronne Ste-Gemme
•    Ch. Castera
•    Ch. Chambert-Marbuzet
•    Ch. Charmail
•    Ch. Cissac
•    Ch. Citran
•    Ch. Clarke
•    Ch. Clauzet
•    Ch. Clément Pichon
•    Ch. Colombier-Monpelou
•    Ch. Coufran
•    Ch. Le Crock
•    Ch. Dutruch Grand Poujeaux
•    Ch. d'Escurac
•    Ch. Fonbadet
•    Ch. Fonréaud
•    Ch. Fourcas Dupré
•    Ch. Fourcas Hosten
•    Ch. Fourcas Loubaney
•    Ch. du Glana
•    Ch. Les Grands Chênes
•    Ch. Gressier Grand Poujeaux
•    Ch. Greysac
•    Ch. La Gurgue
•    Ch. Hanteillanc
•    Ch. Haut-Bages Monpelou
•    Ch. La Haye
•    Ch. Labégorce
•    Ch. Lachesnaye
•    Ch. de Lamarque
•    Ch. Lamothe Bergeron
•    Ch. Lanessan
•    Ch. Larose Trintaudon
•    Ch. Lestage
•    Ch. Lestage Simon
•    Ch. Lilian Ladouys
•    Ch. Liversan
•    Ch. Loudenne
•    Ch. Malescasse
•    Ch. de Malleret
•    Ch. Maucaillou
•    Ch. Maucamps
•    Ch. Mayne Lalande
•    Ch. Meyney
•    Ch. Monbrison
•    Ch. Moulin à Vent
•    Ch. Moulin de la Rose
•    Ch. Les Ormes Sorbet
•    Ch. Paloumey
•    Ch. Patache d’Aux
•    Ch. Paveil de Luze
•    Ch. Petit Bocq
•    Ch. Pibran
•    Ch. Ramage La Batisse
•    Ch. Reysson
•    Ch. Rollan de By
•    Ch. Saransot-Dupré
•    Ch. Ségur
•    Ch. Sénéjac
•    Ch. Soudars
•    Ch. du Taillan
•    Ch. Terrey Gros Cailloux
•    Ch. La Tour de By
•    Ch. Tour de Marbuzet
•    Ch. La Tour de Mons
•    Ch. Tour de Pez
•    Ch. Tour du Haut Moulin
•    Ch. Tour Haut Caussan
•    Ch. Tronquoy-Lalande
•    Ch. Verdignan
•    Ch. Vieux Robin
•    Ch. de Villegeorge

Cru Bourgeois

•    Ch. Andron Blanquet
•    Ch. Aney
•    Ch. d'Arcins
•    Ch. L'Argenteyre
•    Ch. d'Aurilhac
•    Ch. Balac
•    Ch. Barateau
•    Ch. Bardis
•    Ch. Barreyres
•    Ch. Baudan
•    Ch. Beau-Site Haut-Vignoble
•    Ch. Bégadanet
•    Ch. Bel Air
•    Ch. Bel Air
•    Ch. Bel Orme Tronquoy de Lalande
•    Ch. Bel-Air Lagrave
•    Ch. des Belles Graves
•    Ch. Bessan Ségur
•    Ch. Bibian
•    Ch. Blaignan
•    Ch. Le Boscq
•    Ch. Le Bourdieu
•    Ch. Le Bourdieu Vertheuil
•    Ch. de Braude
•    Ch. du Breuil
•    Ch. La Bridane
•    Ch. des Brousteras
•    Ch. des Cabans
•    Ch. Cap de Haut
•    Ch. Capbern Gasqueton
•    Ch. Chantelys
•    Ch. La Clare
•    Ch. La Commanderie
•    Ch. Le Coteau
•    Ch. Coutelin Merville
•    Ch. de la Croix
•    Ch. Dasvin-Bel-Air
•    Ch. David
•    Ch. Devise d’Ardilley
•    Ch. Deyrem Valentin
•    Ch. Dillon
•    Ch. Domeyne
•    Ch. Donissan
•    Ch. Ducluzeau
•    Ch. Duplessis
•    Ch. Duplessis Fabre
•    Ch. Duthil
•    Ch. L'Ermitage
•    Ch. d'Escot
•    Ch. La Fleur Milon
•    Ch. La Fleur Peyrabon
•    Ch. La Fon du Berger
•    Ch. Fontesteau
•    Ch. Fontis
•    Ch. La Galiane
•    Ch. de Gironville
•    Ch. La Gorce
•    Ch. La Gorre
•    Ch. Grand Clapeau Olivier
•    Ch. Grandis
•    Ch. Granins Grand Poujeaux
•    Ch. Grivière
•    Ch. Haut-Beauséjour
•    Ch. Haut-Bellevue
•    Ch. Haut Breton Larigaudière
•    Ch. Haut-Canteloup
•    Ch. Haut-Madrac
•    Ch. Haut-Maurac
•    Ch. Houissant
•    Ch. Hourbanon
•    Ch. Hourtin-Ducasse
•    Ch. Labadie
•    Ch. Ladouys
•    Ch. Laffitte Carcasset
•    Ch. Laffitte Laujac
•    Ch. Lafon
•    Ch. Lalande
•    Ch. Lalande
•    Ch. Lamothe-Cissac
•    Ch. Larose Perganson
•    Ch. Larrivaux
•    Ch. Larruau
•    Ch. Laujac
•    Ch. La Lauzette-Declercq
•    Ch. Leyssac
•    Ch. Lieujean
•    Ch. Liouner
•    Ch. Lousteauneuf
•    Ch. Magnol
•    Ch. de Marbuzet
•    Ch. Marsac Séguineau
•    Ch. Martinens
•    Ch. Maurac
•    Ch. Mazails
•    Ch. Le Meynieu
•    Ch. Meyre
•    Ch. Les Moines
•    Ch. Mongravey
•    Ch. Le Monteil d’Arsac
•    Ch. Morin
•    Ch. du Moulin Rouge
•    Ch. La Mouline
•    Ch. Muret
•    Ch. Noaillac
•    Ch. du Perier
•    Ch. Le Pey
•    Ch. Peyrabon
•    Ch. Peyredon Lagravette
•    Ch. Peyre-Lebade
•    Ch. Picard
•    Ch. Plantey
•    Ch. Poitevin
•    Ch. Pomys
•    Ch. Pontac Lynch
•    Ch. Pontey
•    Ch. Pontoise Cabarrus
•    Ch. Puy Castéra
•    Ch. Ramafort
•    Ch. du Raux
•    Ch. La Raze Beauvallet
•    Ch. du Retout
•    Ch. Reverdi
•    Ch. Roquegrave
•    Ch. Rousseau de Sipian
•    Ch. St Ahon
•    Ch. St Aubin
•    Ch. St-Christophe
•    Ch. St Estèphe
•    Ch. St-Hilaire
•    Ch. St-Paul
•    Ch. Segue Longue
•    Ch. Ségur de Cabanac
•    Ch. Semeillan Mazeau
•    Ch. Senilhac
•    Ch. Tayac
•    Ch. Le Temple
•    Ch. Teynac
•    Ch. La Tonnelle
•    Ch. Tour Blanche
•    Ch. La Tour de Bessan
•    Ch. Tour des Termes
•    Ch. Tour-du-Roc
•    Ch. Tour Prignac
•    Ch. Tour St Bonnet
•    Ch. Tour St-Fort
•    Ch. Tour St Joseph
•    Ch. Trois Moulins
•    Ch. Les Tuileries
•    Ch. Vernous
•    Vieux Ch. Landon
•    Ch. de Villambis

There was considerable controversy regarding the 2003 classification. Over 70 producers applied to court to contest their exclusion from the new ranking. As a result, in February 2007, the 2003 was annulled. At this point, the 1932 classification was briefly reinstated, with its single tier and 444 estates.

In July 2007, following the intervention of the French fraud office, all use of the term Cru Bourgeois became illegal. The ban applied to all wines, also extending to those wineries in Sauternes, Côtes-de-Bourg and Blaye who used the term.

Cru Bourgeois Today: A Label Awarded Annually

In 2010, the Cru Bourgeois system was reintroduced, but in a significantly revised form. It now consists of only one level, and is awarded annually, on the basis of an assessment of both production methods and the wine. Any property in the Médoc may apply.

Chateaus’ production methods are periodically inspected and their wines are submitted to an independent panel for annual tasting. The classification is an annual exercise, 2 years after the vintage. For example, for the 2012 vintage, the Cru Bouregois label will be awarded in 2015.

Cru Bourgeois 2008

In 2010, of the 290 producers who applied for Cru Bourgeois status for their 2008 wine, 243 were successful.

Cru Bourgeois 2009

In September 2011, the 2009 classification was announced. Of 304 applicants, 246 were successful.

Cru Bourgeois 2010

In September, 2012, the 2010 classification was announced. 260 producers have received the Cru Bourgeois label, or 32 million bottles.

Les Exceptionnels

Six out of nine of the former Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel decided to remain outside the new Cru Bourgeois system. Instead, they formed a group named Les Exceptionnels. Members of this group are Château Chasse Spleen, Château Les Ormes de Pez, Château de Pez, Château Potensac, Château Poujeaux and Château Siran.

Cru Bourgeois in Sauternes, Côtes-de-Bourg and Blaye

Efforts are underway to align their system to that of the Medoc.

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