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Cru Bourgeois may add hierarchy to list

The Cru Bourgeois Alliance is planning to introduce two or three new levels into its annual listing – possibly for the 2012 vintage.

The new listing for the 2010 vintage has just been announced, with 260 chateaux from eight appellations included, compared with 246 for the 2009 vintage.

As with the previous two years the list, which is reviewed annually, is flat: a property is classed as Cru Bourgeois with no hierarchy of quality.

The Alliance des Crus Bourgeois du Médoc has said before that it constantly reviews its system, which was finally ratified in 2008 after several years of controversy resulting from the annulment of the 2003 classification.

Now Alliance president Frédéric de Luze says there are one or two changes that might be introduced.

In the first place, he said today at the launch of the new Sélection Officielle 2010 Cru Bourgeois du Médoc in London, the fact the listing changed annually ‘makes producers and the wine trade uncomfortable’, and they might find a way to include properties ‘for a couple of years’.

In the second place, the Alliance is talking, both internally and to the government, about the possibility of introducing ‘two or three new layers’, possibly for the 2012 Sélection which will be announced in 2014.

This might be a hierarchy along the lines of the ‘Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel’ and ‘Cru Bourgeois Superieur’ ranking which existed before 2003.

de Luze said they had to take into account that there was variability in quality amongst the 260 chateaux, and that many were on ‘a different level in terms of value of the property and investment’.

Frédérique de Lamothe, the director the Alliance, stressed that plans were only at the discussion stage and ‘nothing is decided’.

The situation is fraught with difficulty: the 2003 classification collapsed because dozens of chateaux that had not been included successfully sued.

And in 2010, a group of former Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnels, including Chateaux Chasse Spleen, Les Ormes de Pez, de Pez, Potensac, Poujeaux and Siran, announced they were boycotting the new system and forming their own group.

de Lamothe said, ‘We’ve now got the system going well. We don’t want to disrupt anything.’

Written by Adam Lechmere

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