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Cru Bourgeois: new listing finally pushed through

France’s most eminent wine publication La Revue du Vin de France has added to the ongoing cru bourgeois quarrel by organising its own listing - and the Syndicat has finally accepted the new order.

Earlier this month the Syndicat des Crus Bourgeois du Medoc voted to accept the new 2003 classification, and to disband and rename itself the Alliance des Crus Bourgeois de Medoc.

The new classification of Medoc crus bourgeois was announced in June 2003 and rejected a month later by 124 votes to 116. This month’s vote overturned that rejection with 71% in favour of reclassification.

Of 490 chateaux which registered to be included in the new classification, 247 were listed as either Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel (9 chateaux), Superieur (87) or Cru Bourgeois (151).

One member of the syndicat is seeking to overturn that vote on a technicality, and four minor chateaux have won a court referral which delays their declassification until further hearings.

Against this background La Revue du Vin de France conducted its own assessment of the listings and released its findings this month. A panel tasted over 500 wines from the 2000 and 2001 vintages – and selected 100 estates it deemed worthy of the status.

Chateau Preuillac – considered a top chateau – won a place in the magazine’s listing. It’s owners, the Mau family, were outraged when they were not made exceptionnel in the 2003 classification. Judges looked only at wines from 1994-99, excluding any vintages since Yvon Mau took over the property.

‘The result reinforces Chateau Preuillac’s view that the official reclassification was unjust. It also encourages our belief that we are on the right track and that we will prove our inclusion on merit in the future,’ Jean-Christophe Mau said.

Thierry Gardinier of Chateau Phelan Segur, and vice president of the syndicat, told decanter.com he was happy with the results . ‘Ninety percent of people think it was well done,’ he said. ‘There will always be some who don’t agree with what we have done. We now need to work out how to defend the new decree legally.’

Gardinier also said he thought the RVF’s article was well-researched and was unfazed by their alternative classification. ‘Every magazine will do it,’ he said.

He also defended the fact judges looked at 1994-1999, saying the process was started in 2001 when 2000 was still in barrel. ‘In any case, the judging was not done just on the vintage, but on the chateau’s performance over the years. One vintage is not the result of one year’s work but the work of 10 or 15 years.’

The classification will be revisited in 10 years.

Written by Adam Lechmere

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