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Bordeaux supérieur: Growers apply for ’cru d'exception’ statement

By Vitisphere March 31, 2016
Bordeaux supérieur: Growers apply for ’cru d'exception’ statement

he decision to apply for a ‘cru d’exception’ statement on labelling of Bordeaux Supérieur was approved at the Bordeaux wine growers’ organisation’s AGM on February 26, then rubber stamped by the regional committee of the national institute for origin and quality (INAO) on March 3. It now has to be submitted to the national board of INAO. Although there is still a long way to go before the statement makes it on to labels of Bordeaux Supérieur, the chairman of the growers’ organisation Hervé Grandeau claims it already underscores “acceptance of a project that has been thought through and is dependable”.

The project indeed dates back to 2009 when the original idea was to replace the Bordeaux Supérieur designation by Bordeaux Premier Cru. Although the name has changed, the fundamental ambitions remain the same: an endorsement of quality and improved price points. “In Bordeaux, when you are not fortunate enough to come from a village appellation, you remain invisible, even if you produce a real gem of a wine. The statement will allow excellence to exist and be promoted”, announces Hervé Grandeau.

For those who fear that the statement will only add to confusion by creating another echelon on the Bordeaux quality pyramid, its advocates retort that, on the contrary, it avoids the balkanisation of the current system. “At the moment, to establish a growth, you have to go from a regional to a sub-regional then a village appellation and so on. We do not want to create complexity through AOC Bordeaux Supérieur Sauveterre de Guyenne Cru d’Exception from such and such locality”, explains Hervé Grandeau who adds: “The statement could even be applied horizontally in the future, depending on the inclinations of the various growers’ organisations”.

This innovative response to the issue of creating hierarchies within appellations may inspire not only Bordeaux but the many other French wine regions that are currently working on this, including Cahors, Languedoc and Muscadet. For the Bordeaux Supérieur Cru d’Exception statement, specifications, vineyard boundaries and taste approval procedures still have to be finalised, but Hervé Grandeau is quietly confident: “The process could move forward rapidly and I believe that by 2020, AOC Bordeaux may be entitled to the ‘cru supérieur’ statement”.

The aim of the statement would be to hive off between 0 and 10% of production of Bordeaux Supérieur, equating to approximately 25-50,000 hectolitres a year. In 2015, the vineyards of Gironde produced 1.8 million hectolitres of red Bordeaux and 551,000 hl of Bordeaux Supérieur.


[ Source and photo: Vitisphere ]

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