Bordeaux Crus Bourgeois to reintroduce hierarchy classification

The Crus Bourgeois du Médoc has announced it has received ministerial approval to launch yet another new classification system that will come into effect with the 2018 vintage’s release in 2020.

In development for five years, the new classification will reintroduce a hierarchical system that was done away with when the classification was itself reintroduced in 2010.

Cru Bourgeois as a classification covers a number of châteaux that were not listed as crus classés in 1855 and has existed somewhat unofficially since 1932.

In 2003 an official system was introduced that classified 247 properties and named nine of them ‘Exceptionnel’, another 87 ‘Supérieurs’, with the rest listed simply as ‘Bourgeois’.

Predictably, as has been the case with numerous such classifications in Bordeaux and elsewhere, the result was controversy with many producers either unhappy not to have been ranked as Crus Bourgeois at all or at having been ranked lower than they thought was right.

The brouhaha reached such a pitch that in 2007 the whole thing was annulled at which, in protest, the nine properties that had been labelled ‘Exceptionnel’ (including Chasse-Spleen, Les Ormes de Pex and Potensac) declared they wanted nothing to do with the Cru Bourgeois label and split entirely.

The classification was reintroduced in 2010 with just one level – ‘Cru Bourgeois’ – and with 246 châteaux among its ranks.

Now the Alliance des Crus Bourgeois has announced it is to return to the historical hierarchy of the Crus Bourgeois du Médoc, with three categories: ‘Cru Bourgeois’, ‘Cru Bourgeois Supérieur’ and ‘Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel’. Once launched, the new classification will replace the single ‘Cru Bourgeois’ classification currently being exercised.”

Estates submitting themselves to the new classification will be judged on quality (on the basis of a blind tasting by an independent and impartial panel of several vintages); the development of “positive points”; respect for the environment and tests and inspections carried out throughout the classification period with regards commitment to consumers, traceability and authentication of each bottle.

The new classification will come into effect from the 2018 vintage when it becomes physical in 2020.

4 Responses to “Bordeaux Crus Bourgeois to reintroduce hierarchy classification”

  1. Charles says:

    The problem as always will be when the classification results are announced and those who think they are in the wrong category will object and disrupt the whole process. Furthermore unless it is revised regularly and with properties moving between categories, it will soon become as worthless as a measure of quality as the 1855 Medoc classification. I am not optimistic based on history! The only chance of it working is if all the properties agree in a legally enforceable way in advance and in writing to accept the results. Will they?

  2. Allen Murphey says:

    Well, other than a property’s initial placement within the three categories, what difference does it make long term? The 1855 classification has only had one change of note since it was put in place. Initially, the selling price at that time dictated its proper place. Based on today’s market value of the same wines has rendered the original 1855 classification somewhat moot. Buyers are now more concerned with a specific property with less emphasis on its classification. Quality is what consumers and collectors are looking for. Demand trumps all, and therefore dictates price.

  3. Simon says:


    But I do like the idea of Chateau de Pex, definitely full-bodied, muscly wine…

  4. Simon says:

    (whoops, Ormes de Pex…)

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