This month, the #Winophiles group traveled to Bordeaux to find some affordable bottles for the holidays. Linda Whipple, our host, wrote this extensive post on the topic which laid out some options
I decided to write about the Cru Bourgeois. Well-known since ancient times, this is an historic group of wineries. In 1932, 444 chateaux were grouped in a list by the Bordeaux merchants. A union of the Cru Bourgeois was created in 1962 and the first official classification was in 2003 when 247 chateaux were included.
The wines come from the Médoc AOC, Haut-Médoc AOC, Listrac, Moulis, Margaux, Pauillac, and Saint-Estèphe. The classification has been in evolution and the latest iteration was codified in February 2020 .
There are 249 chateau, 179 Cru Bourgeois, 56 Cru Bourgeois Supériors, 14 Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnels. The rules for each part of the classification are very precise and range from environmental protections to hospitality in the winery. The latest classification is the culmination of a decade of work by the whole category. The Cru Bourgeois are about 31% of Medoc’s production.
The Cru Bourgeois are all made using the grapes we know and love from Bordeaux: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot. They grow on gravelly or clay-limestone soils and are happy in the temperate, warm, oceanic climate that is Bordeaux on the 45th parallel.
They tend to be important wines which can grace your table together with a festive meal or Saturday night dinner with friends.
As if that weren’t enough, here are six reasons to look for these wines in addition to their wonderful aromas and flavors:
- The classification system clearly focuses on its environmental footprint which is very impressive indeed.
- Another super interesting part of this classification is that it is reviewed every five years so wineries have to stay on top of their practices and cannot rest on their laurels.
- Approachability is another characteristic of these wines, I have been to many a trade tasting of these wines and the owners are always pouring their own wines and are very approachable.
- Affordability makes them a great choice for the holidays. Most are priced anywhere from $20-$50.
- Moreover, the Chateau are open to be visited on your next trip to Bordeaux. This too is a reason to get to know some of these wines.
- Lastly, the wines are ready to drink earlier than some classified growths but can also keep for a while.
If these reasons aren’t enough, take it from Jancis Robinson, not from me that Cru Bourgeois are a great bet.
Check out the blogs of my fellow Winophiles writers regarding affordable Bordeaux for your holiday table. Join our chat on Twitter on Saturday Nov. 20 from 11:00 – 12:00pm EST. Use the hashtag #winophiles to find us
- Sparkling Wine Secrets: Cremant from Bordeaux Paired with Bisque, Gourmet Grilled Cheese from Gwendolyn at Wine Predator
- How to Balance Quality vs. Price in Bordeaux Starting with Saint Émilion from Jeff at foodwineclick
- Cru Bourgeois: Welcoming Wines for Experts and Novices Alike from Susannah at avvinare
- Château Roc de Candale Saint-Émilion with Skirt Steak and Roasted Leeks from Nicole at Somm’s Table
- Chateau Haut Guillebot with Mini Cheeseball Truffles for Thanksgiving from Terri at Our Good Life
- Bay Scallop Chowder and a White Bordeaux Wine from Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Spiced Pork Tenderloin with a Cherry Sauce with an Affordable Bottle of Bordeaux: Chateau des Mille Anges 2016 from Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Getting Good Bang for Your Bordeaux Buck from Cathie at Side Hustle Wino
- Bargain-hunting for a Côtes de Bordeaux celebration wine from Linda at My Full Wine Glass