For the 2010 vintage 260 Châteaux were awarded the cru bourgeois label. This is up from 246 properties for the 2009 vintage, and 243 properties in the inaugural awarding of the revamped label for the 2008 vintage.
President of the Alliance des Crus Bourgeois du Médoc, Frédéric de Luze, seemed satisfied that the new guise of cru bourgeois is gaining recognition. He said “for the 2008 vintage, the Bordeaux trade – courtiers, some château owners – said it wouldn’t work. But three years later we are confident and happy. Everybody is looking at what we are doing and thinking they should start to do the same in some other places.” That more producers are wanting to join the cru bourgeois group, is a positive indication.
The new thing this year is that every one of the 32 million bottles awarded cru bourgeois 2010 has a sticker with a unique identification number and a QR code, both to reduce the possibility of fakery, and to help consumers make purchasing decisions. The QR code goes directly to the Alliance website where purchasers can check if the number is correct or if it is a fake. “This is something the Chinese are very interested in” said de Luze.
Other information is available on the site to help consumers make their selection including details about the estates, the blend, and history. De Luze said that the cru bourgeois alliance is the only group in the world doing this today, which may be another reason others are looking at route being taken by the Alliance.
Other evolutions are on the horizon. The annulled 2003 classification had three rankings of estates, dividing up quality levels in what is a very large group of properties, accounting for some 27% of the Médoc vineyard. The new Alliance, for the 2008 vintage, kept a single ranking and continues to keep a single ranking.
But a ranking may also help consumers learn about top cru bourgeois and those more humble members of the group, and this is being planned. The cru bourgeois rules “are controlled by the French government” said de Luze “so each time we want to move [the rules] it takes time, it’s a long process. We want to set up [a ranking] for vintage 2012.” He added “we have different levels in terms of properties, investment, so we have people looking for levels [ranking]. I can’t tell you exactly what it will be, but it may be similar with two to three categories.”
The Alliance is also discussing a way for some properties to keep the cru bourgeois moniker for a couple of years rather than the current single year, “but we don’t want to leave producers to do whatever they want” added de Luze.
Click here for a piece I wrote for Drinks Business magazine.
The 260 Châteaux awarded cru bourgeois for their 2010 vintage are here (takes a while to load).