Since the former Cru Bourgeois system – dogged by suggestions of conflicts of interest – ended in 2007, some 290 producers have put themselves forward for the new classification. This represents the original 247 member producers plus more that were not previously accepted.
Under the old system, a jury of 18 people from the Médoc area judged all submissions for the Cru Bourgeois tastings. The president was one of those 18, but no-one ever judged their own wines. The new system is regulated by a new independent panel of tasters, made up of oenologists, winemakers from other regions and other experts, all chosen and overseen by the Bureau Véritasse compliance agency in Paris.
“The new system is based on impartiality – all the candidates are treated in the same way,” said Alliance director Frédérique Dutheillet de Lamothe.
Wines from the 2008 vintage will be the first to appear with the new designation.
The ‘Cru bourgeoiS’ logo has been slightly redesigned, and members of the group will be permitted to place it on the front or back labels, or on a separate label on the bottle. “We don’t want to force too much and give them too many restrictions,” said de Lamothe.
The plan is also in time to design a provenance/tracking system into Cru Bourgeois wine labels, which will provide an anti-fraud measure for producers and give consumers direct access to the organizations website: crus-bourgeois.com
Covering the eight appellations of Médoc, Haut-Médoc, Saint-Estèphe, Pauillac, Saint-Julien, Listrac-Médoc, Moulis en Médoc and Margaux, the new Cru Bourgeois designation will not distinguish between different perceived quality levels in the way the old system did with its Supérieur and Exceptionnel categories.