Bordeaux Chateau Preuillac has been readmitted to the Cru Bourgeois listing after a court ruling.
The new classification of Medoc Crus Bourgeois has been dogged by controversy since it was announced in June 2003.
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).
Preuillac, owned by negociants Yvon Mau, was not accepted into the new listing. The Mau family, together with other properties which felt they had been unfairly demoted, challenged the decision in the courts.
They alleged cronyism on the part of the jury (the judging panels), and Yvon Mau in particular complained judges looked only at wines from 1994-99, excluding any vintages since the company took over the property.
The Bordeaux ‘tribunal administratif’ has now found in favour of Preuillac. It ruled the jury did not adhere to the criteria – including inspection of terroir, viticulture, bottling conditions, consistency of quality, and the general reputation of the property – it set itself for judging the properties.
Preuillac has been reclassified Cru Bourgeois pending re-examination by a newly-set up panel of judges.
Four other properties had their appeals upheld earlier this year. The Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce – which took part in setting up the original jury for the reclassification, along with the Syndicat des Crus Bourgeois du Medoc, appellations body the INAO and other official bodies – has now been instructed by the ministry of agriculture to re-examine an unspecified number of properties.
‘I understand the judge ruled in favour of Chateau Preuillac because certain members of the original jury were also owners of Cru Bourgeois chateaux and that there was therefore a conflict of interest,’ Preuillac spokesman Richard Bampfield told decanter.com.
Written by Adam Lechmere