Alain Raynaud, founder and president of the Cercle Rive Droite group, is launching a similar group for properties from the Left Bank of Bordeaux.
‘Not a move against UGC…’ Alain Raynaud
The Cercle Rive Gauche will effectively be a sister organisation for the Cercle Rive Droite, with both groups overseen by the newly-created Cercle des Grands Vins de Bordeaux.
The groups will organise separate tastings, but will travel together for overseas events, including ones planned for this year in the United States, and Asia.
Raynaud played down any idea that he was competing with the Union des Grands Crus, the formidable and long-established group of Bordeaux chateaux.
‘This is absolutely not a move against the Union des Grands Crus,’ Raynaud – who was himself president of the UGC from 1994 to 2000 – said. ‘But they have done such a good job that many of their members have effectively become luxury goods, and are no longer affordable in all markets. This new group is filling a need for a new organisation able to market the more affordable quality estates on the Left Bank.’
Raynaud confirmed that the average consumer price of wines within the group will be between approximately €10 to €30, and the wines will be tasted once a year by the independent group the Grand Jury Européen, as the Right Bank wines are now, as well as internal tastings.
‘The Alliance des Cru Bourgeois is also doing an excellent job, but it is open only to a certain number of wines in the Médoc. We are open to all estates across the region that are interested in quality. Bordeaux has the biggest production of quality wines in France, and we hope to represent a greater breadth of excellent wines at good prices.’
The Cercle Rive Droite was founded in 2002, and today has 135 members across 18 appellations. The new group will launch this Friday with 28 founder members, including Denis Dubourdieu properties such as Clos Floridene, Chateau de Sartre in Pessac Léognan, Chateau Rollan de By and Chateau Malescasse.
Its founder president will be Francis Boutemy, of Chateau Haut-Lagrange in Pessac Léognan.
‘This is something new and will be complementary to the existing Right Bank group. It is entirely to their credit to have opened up their success to the Left Bank,’ Boutemy said.
Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux