I was pleased to read that changes may be afoot in relation to the cru bourgeois classification system in Bordeaux. From the 2008 vintage, producers have been entitled to use the term “Cru Bourgeois” on their labels if they meet certain criteria and their wines are approved at an annual tasting overseen by the Alliance de Cru Bourgeois in Bordeaux. The 2013 Cru Bourgeois classified wines were released yesterday (see http://www.crus-bourgeois.com) and include 251 wines.
While I am sure that all of the cru bourgeois so classified have their charms, I’ve never thought this system particularly useful from a consumer point of view, preferring the earlier more controversial (and repealed) classification of cru bourgeois in 2003 which distinguished between three levels of quality: cru bourgeois, cru bourgeois supérieur and cru bourgeois exceptionnel. According to Decanter and Chris Kissack the proposed new rules may come into place in 5 years time to separate the best wines into a higher quality category and the title may be valid for 5 years at a time (starting from the 2018 vintage).
I think from a consumer point of view, a development of this kind would be a very good thing as the high pricing of the 1855 cru classé means that many, me included, look for quality, drinkability and value among the cru bourgeois. However, looking at the turbid history of this classification, I suspect this will not be the end of the story.