The Cru Bourgeois classification in Médoc has a stormy past. It was first created in the 1930s and disappeared shortly after the 2003 update of the classification was cancelled. The reason for cancelling the reviewed listing was dissatisfaction protests from some chateaux that were not included. This update listed 247 chateaux.
Cru Bourgeois resurfaced a few years after the annulment. It is now an annual award given to around 260 chateaux in the Médoc considered to achieve a certain level of quality. But now, apparently, there are plans to change Cru Bourgeois once again. Given the previous problems (and similar problems in Saint Emilion) they are brave indeed if they embark on a new classification.
The new idea is to make the Cru Bourgeois ranking a list that is reviewed every five years, according to a report in la Revue des vins de France. Tasting the wines will no longer be the only parameter. Other things, like the price and reputation of the château, how environmentally friendly they work in the vineyard, if they have tourist facilities and so on, will be taken into account. It all sounds very much like the Saint Emilion classification. We eagerly await further details.
We think that from a consumer and wine lover perspective a classification has scant value. For the chateaux it is perhaps more of a tool to try and get protection from competition and push prices up.
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