The history of this classification.
The term Cru Bourgeois became established through sheer use, as it dates back to the Middle Ages, when the citizens (bourgeois), residents of the “burgh” (bourg) of Bordeaux, acquire the region’s best lands and were subsequently granted this designation.
The turning point
In 1932, the Crus Bourgeois were grouped in a list established by the Bordeaux wine merchants, under the aegis of the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce of and the Gironde Chamber of Agriculture.
The quality and value of red wines produced in one of the eight Médoc appellations: Médoc, Haut-Médoc, Listrac, Moulis, Margaux, Saint-Julien, Pauillac, and Saint-Estèphe.
An evolving classification: Since 2010, the official selection has been published annually in September.
Each year, between 240 and 260 properties, often family-owned, form the Alliance des Crus Bourgeois, accounting for more than 40% of the Médoc’s production.
Cru Bourgeois Bordeaux Wine Today
For wine lovers seeking well priced Bordeaux wine, that delivers style, character and quality for a fair price, it’s important to know the Cru Bourgeois classified wines. Being Left bank wines, most Cru Bourgeois are dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon. However, over the past few decades, many estates have added more Merlot to their blend, in an effort to soften the wines.
They can offer value and very good drinking, if you know which wines to look for. At their best, there are Cru Bourgeois estates that compete with much more expensive Bordeaux chateaux. Compete with, might not be a strong enough term. At their best, the top Cru Bourgeois wines can be better than some of the more famous, and more expensive classed growths.
The truth is, many Cru Bourgeois classed wines can be rustic, especially if the vintage is not a ripe year. But there are also several Cru Bourgeois estates making quality Bordeaux wine that can age and develop complexities that experienced connoisseurs love to find in aged wines.
But most can be enjoyed much earlier in life than the more expensive Left Bank wines, which is positive in today’s world.
However, because the wines can reach maturity earlier than their more expensive cousins in the Medoc, they will not age as well either in the majority of cases. Most of these wines are going to be at their best between 5 to 10 years after the vintage. Of course, as we mentioned, there are wines can age for longer periods of time.
Those chateau tend to come from the wines dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon that is planted in the better gravel soils, located close to the major appellations. But the truth is, many of these wines will lose their fruit by the time they are 12 years old, in a good vintage. Moderate years will need to be consumed earlier.
The Best Vintages of Cru Bourgeois Bordeaux are: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2010, 2009, 2006, 2005 and 2000. To read about vintages from the Cru Bourgeois vineyards and all the other Bordeaux appellations; Bordeaux Vintage Charts 1959 Through Today
Generally speaking, the top vintages for the Cru Bourgeois wines mirror the Left Bank. Look for Cru Bourgeois wines from:
If you are interested in reading more detailed information on other vintages for Pauillac and all the top Bordeaux appellations, please read: Bordeaux Year to Year Detailed Vintage Reports 1900 to Today
Cru Bourgeois wines are more vintage dependent than the better terroirs in the Medoc. This is especially true in difficult vintages that for Cru Bourgeois wines that require owners with the ability, knowledge and financial ability to get the most from their vineyard. When you discover those wines, you can be in for a treat that won’t break the bank!
You can find many of the best Cru Bourgeois estates by following the links on the left side of this page. While all the Cru Bourgeois wines come from the Left Bank, Merlot is just as important as Cabernet Sauvignon to a large percentage of these wines.
This is because many of these estates are forced to harvest before the better terroirs in the Medoc, as their soils do not offer the same ability for drainage if it rains before harvest.
Unofficially, a type of Crus Bourgeois Classification has been in existence since at least 1850, when Cocks and Feret created three categories for the wines, Cru Bourgeois Classification, Cru Bourgeois Superieur, Bon Cru Bourgeois and Crus Bourgeois. However, when the official 1855 Classification of the Medoc took place, several of those chateaux felt slighted for not being included in what was to become a historic document.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Cru Bourgeois, please visit The Wine Cellar Insider