The procedure of classifying the Médoc cru bourgeois was ‘not impartial’ and ‘tainted with illegality’ according to a French government representative at a Bordeaux tribunal this week.
The administrative tribunal of Bordeaux heard from 78 disgruntled wine producers left out of last year’s reclassification which saw only 247 out of 490 candidates receive the cru bourgeois status.
The list of cru bourgeois properties was made public in June 2003 and ratified by the Ministry of Agriculture. Now, the 78 producers and their lawyers are arguing for a repeal of the listing and the ministerial order by which it is upheld.
According to French newspaper Sud-Ouest the tribunal heard three main arguments for the annulment of the 2003 classification. As well as pointing out that not all the properties were visited by the jury and that producers were not allowed to defend themselves, the main argument centred on the fairness of the judging process.
Lawyers for the 78 producers pointed out that the jury included owners of châteaux up for reclassification.
After hearing from the Ministry of Agriculture, which defended the process, the government representative agreed with the declassified producers that the process of judging the cru bourgeois listing was flawed.
‘This does not amount to impartiality,’ he said, ‘no one can be both judge and defendant. The ministerial order is therefore tainted with illegallity.’
He demanded a partial annulment of the classification.
The judges are expected to reach a decision in one month’s time.
Written by Oliver Styles