Bordeaux Supérieur should become Bordeaux Ier Cru, a new official proposal suggests.

As the new system of granting appellation approval, known as the agrément process, approaches in July 2008, France’s largest AOC Syndicate, Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur is considering introducing a change of name at the same time.

The idea is only a proposition at this stage, but has been voted in by members of the Bordeaux Syndicate, led by president Bernard Fargues, and been submitted to INAO (Institute National des Appellations d’Origine) for ratification.

Spokesperson Michelle Vernoux told, ‘The idea needs to be studied in detail, and INAO will look at the potential benefits and complications. It is not likely to be finalised for the 2008 vintage, but perhaps the 2009’.

This will not affect the generic Bordeaux appellation, just that of Bordeaux Supérieur.

Currently the difference between the two is largely in methods of viticulture, detailing such things as permitted yields and allowed alcohol levels.

But already there are rumblings of dissent.

Anne Francoise Quié, of second growth Chateau Rauzan Gassies in Margaux said, ‘It sounds confusing for the consumer to have the very top quality wines of Bordeaux known as premier crus, and then also a more generic quality level with the same name.’

Aymeric Fournier, who works with the Despagne family across several properties in Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur, said, ‘If only a select number of the current Bordeaux Supérieur can qualify for the new grading, that it can work. But if it is an automatic right to switch from one to the other, it will be meaningless.’

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux