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Cru Bourgeois classification to be reviewed

Seventy-six Bordeaux châteaux excluded from the 2003 cru bourgeois classification have had their declassification declared void.

A regional court in Bordeaux found in favour of the 78 wine producers who questioned their exclusion from the 2003 reclassification which saw only 247 out of 490 châteaux receive cru bourgeois status.

Two producers of the 78 have had their cases judged as ‘non-immediate’ while the rest find themselves in a viticultural limbo.

The judgement annuls the declassification of the 78 producers in 2003 but does not say whether these châteaux can still call themselves crus bourgeois or not. They include Châteaux Preuillac, Bellegrave, Andron and la Clare.

‘It’s nonsense,’ said Jean-Christophe Mau of Château Preuillac, ‘we don’t know what to do, we just have to wait.’

He added, ‘But of course I’m happy for Preuillac, and also happy that the whole 2003 classement was not declared void. The ruling recognises that the classification jury did not do its job properly.’

The ruling centered on the reclassification judging process by the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce in which 3 out of 18 jury members also owned châteaux up for review. The 76 château will have their wines re-examined in early 2005 by the Chamber of Commerce.

A French government representative at the hearing last month said the process was ‘tainted with illegality’.

The 76 producers will have their wines re-evaluated in early 2005 but the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce will not reassess any other châteaux currently holding cru bourgeois status.

A list of all 76 château will be published as soon as the information is available.

Written by Oliver Styles

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