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Why the Crus Bourgeois have a new hierarchy

By Vitisphere February 24, 2020
Why the Crus Bourgeois have a new hierarchy
Sporting a new logo, the Crus Bourgeois also have a new strapline: “Qualité, les yeux fermés” (“Quality, in complete faith”)

nveiled on 20 February 2020, the first five-year Crus Bourgeois du Médoc classification features 249 chateaux on Bordeaux’s left bank, representing 28 million bottles a year and 31% of Médoc wine production. Now spread over three levels, the estates are classified as Crus Bourgeois (179 properties), Crus Bourgeois Supérieurs (56 properties), and Crus Bourgeois Exceptionnels (14 chateaux). Valid from vintages 2018 to 2022, the quality pyramid puts an end to ten years of annual selections by a tasting panel.

We are transitioning from a vintage classification to a chateau classification, which will enable us to streamline brand investments. The hierarchy is a way of making the Crus Bourgeois more upwardly mobile. In terms of trade, marketing companies tended to lump everyone together and attempt to pull prices down to the lowest level”, summed up Olivier Cuvelier, chairman of the Alliance des Crus Bourgeois du Médoc. The new classification, whose objective is to lift barriers to trade, is also designed to bring renowned Médoc properties back into the fold after they left the Crus Bourgeois following the annulment of the 2003 classification by the courts in 2009.

Although none of the nine properties classified as Crus Exceptionnels in 2003 feature in the 2020 classification, Olivier Cuvelier is confident that ‘flagship brands’ will return by 2025. “There is a risk involved in applying for eligibility. We are willing to question what we do, which you don’t often find in Bordeaux. Some are waiting to see what happens. It's up to us to prove ourselves”, said Armelle Cruse, vice-chair of the Alliance des Crus Bourgeois.


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