Following the remarkable mobilisation of the wine producers of the Médoc in the formation of the Alliance des Crus Bourgeois du Médoc, the traditional centuries old description of "Cru Bourgeois", was saved in the form of a qualitative selection procedure.
Thanks to this totally innovative approach, the support of the French public authorities was obtained at the end of 2009 when the procedure was approved with the decree of 20 October 2009 & the ministerial order of 16 November 2009.
Every September, since 2010, the new Official Selection for the new vintage is unveiled and brought to the attention of the general public. An official announcement is organized both in France and abroad.
Main Principles & Innovations
The "Cru Bourgeois" qualitative selection procedure is annual and open to all properties in the Médoc.It takes place two years after the harvest (the 2008 vintage was assessed in 2010, 2009 in 2011, 2010 in 2012, etc). The procedure consists of an audit of every property that applies and an annual assessment of its production in the form of a blind tasting.
The "Cru Bourgeois" procedure approves the quality of a given volume of wine and provides a guarantee of this quality to the consumer.
It is based on a Schedule of Requirements and is complemented by a Verification Procedure. Compliance with the Schedule of Requirements and the Verification Procedure is assessed by an independent body for each property.
The secrets of "Cru Bourgeois" quality
Each stage in obtaining the traditional "Cru Bourgeois" description is supervised by an independent verification body. The Alliance des Crus Bourgeois du Médoc chose Bureau Veritas for this task, as a body that specializes in the assessment of compliance. This independent body brings a fresh eye to the "Cru Bourgeois" quality assurance process and ensures impartiality at every stage.
First stage : Eligibility of producers
"Cru Bourgeois" quality assurance is open to all Médoc vineyards authorized to produce wine in one of the eight Médoc AOCs : Médoc, Haut-Médoc, Listrac-Médoc, Moulis en Médoc, Margaux, Saint Julien, Pauillac and Saint Estèphe.
The production facilities of properties applying for recognition must undergo an eligibility visit. It is valid for several years nature and ensures that the property meets specific standards.
Once its eligibility has been confirmed, a property can submit its wines for the tastings organized for each vintage. The eligibility of a property is checked regularly by the verification body.
Second stage : Setting of quality standards
Each year, the Alliance sets the minimum level of quality required to be a "Cru Bourgeois". A representative selection is made in a blind tasting of samples provided by properties applying which then serves as a reference throughout the process. It consists of 16 samples that allow the diversity of the Crus Bourgeois du Médoc to be illustrated. This representative selection is made every year to reflect the character of the vintage.
The representative selection is rated by professional tasters in a blind tasting. They follow the same procedure used in the tastings organised to distinguish the Cru Bourgeois.
The score of the representative selection defines the minimum score that a wine must obtain for a given vintage to be a "Cru Bourgeois".
Third stage : Inclusion in the "Cru Bourgeois" Official Selection
Eligible producers present their wines for tasting two years after the harvest, in accordance with the schedule of tastings determined by the Alliance at the beginning of the campaign.
A representative sample of the vintage after blending is taken by an authorized agent. The identity of the sample is concealed by the independent body.
The examination of the wine consists of a blind tasting of samples carried out by a panel of experts, made up of professional tasters recognized in the industry, who have been recruited and trained by the Alliance and approved every year by the independent body.
The organization of the tasting, the revealing of the identity of the wines and the results of the organoleptic assessment are the responsibility of the independent body.
The tasting is on an individual basis with no conferring.Attribution of "Cru Bourgeois" is based on the average of the scores given by each professional taster. This average score is compared to that of the representative sample for the vintage concerned. If the wine obtains a score greater than or equal to the representative sample, it qualifies as "Cru Bourgeois".