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New Cru Bourgeois label signed and sealed

The new Cru Bourgeois label has been officially ratified by the French agricultural ministry - and the decree signed by prime minister François Fillon.

This means that from the 2008 vintage onwards the word Cru Bourgeois will once again appear on wine labels from the Médoc.

But this time it is an assurance of quality, rather than an actual classification.

Chateaux have to apply every year for the right to use the term, and will be checked by Bureau Veritas, an independent organisation.

Before it goes on the market the wine will be submitted to a blind tasting. This will happen about two years after harvest: ie 2010 for the 2008 vintage.

The president of the Alliance Cru Bourgeois, Frédérique de Lamothe, told decanter.com she was confident this was ‘an excellent result for chateaux and consumers.’

490 chateaux applied for the original 2003 classification, and 247 were awarded the status – which was then annulled following legal disputes.

This time, around 300 chateaux have applied for the Reconnaissance Cru Bourgeois label.

Although the official list of adherents will not be published until early 2010, it is thought that several of the former Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel chateaux will – at least initially – stay away from the new system.

Philippe de Laguarigue, technical director at Chateau Labégorce, a former Supérieur, now merged with former Exceptionnel Labégorce-Zédé, told decanter.com, ‘We of course want to remain at that same quality level, but the title has become too complicated, and doesn’t assure quality. We will focus on our building our brand in its own right.’

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Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

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