The suspension of the Cru Bourgeois was rubber-stamped last week: the classification is officially annulled and use of the term Cru Bourgeois is now illegal.
The French fraud office (the DGCCRF) announced its decision at the end of June, via a letter delivered to the Gironde Wine Growers Federation. The use of the term Cru Bourgeois on bottles would be illegal. ‘In the absence of a full classification, the term can not be used,’ the letter read.
Since the initial suspension in February 2007, following legal challenges brought against the 2003 classification by excluded property owners, chateaux have been unsure exactly what was allowed or not allowed on the labels, and although a definitive judgement has now been given over the term itself, it is still not clear from which date the ruling will be enforced.
‘The 2005 vintage is already in bottle,’ one insider commented, ‘so it is surely impossible to change anything now. The 2006 is in barrel, and the agrément (approval process for the granting of the appellation) has already begun, so we expect this ruling to be enforced from the 2007 vintage.’
Frederique de la Motte, director of the Alliance des Crus Bourgeios, told decanter.com, ‘We will absolutely be trying again, and looking to redo the classification. Right now, you can’t use the term at all and that’s a disaster for all the property owners of cru bourgeois.’
The ban applies to all wines, whether formally included or excluded from the 2003 classification, and also extends to those few wines in Sauternes and Cotes de Bourg and Blaye which are still using the term.
Written by Jane Anson