If you love Cabernet Sauvignon blends from Bordeaux, Cru Bourgeois is a great way to find exceptional quality and value.
The term "Cru Bourgeois" was used as early as the 15th century to describe wines with great quality and value. The goal of this Cru is to focus on quality and be more egalitarian than the rigid unchanging 1855 Grand Cru Classé.
Tasting Cru Bourgeois
Flavors include cassis, mint, violets, leather, smoke and earthy notes. All of these wines are complex with high levels of tannin. Whilst not considered as age-worthy as the best wines from the 1855 Cru Classé, these wines do offer amazing quality-to-price ratios.
The Back Story
Wineries in the 1855 Classification became instantly successful as the world became obsessed with Bordeaux and Cabernet Sauvignon. But what about the other talented wineries in the Médoc (Bordeaux's Cabernet hotspot) who weren't originally classified or didn't even exist yet?
In 1962, Cru Bourgeois arrived. In fact, The term "Cru Bourgeois" was used as early as the 15th century to describe wines with great quality and good value from the area.
The goal of the new Cru system was to focus on quality and be more egalitarian than the rigid unchanging 1855 system.
Cru Bourgeois Classification
Since its official start there have been a number of changes, and today the classification is broken down into three sub-categories:
Cru Bourgeois - 179 wineries
Cru Bourgeois Supérieure - 56 wineries
Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel - 14 wineries
As of 2020, 249 wineries made up the Cru Bourgeois classification.
Each winery and their wines are classified through a rigorous process of blind tasting and other criteria. Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel is the most prestigious category of this classification.
Why is Cru Bourgeois important?
For any winery of quality that cannot be a part of the 1855 Grands Crus Classés Classification this provides an important way to stand out. As the 1855 Classification is never updated or reviewed this is one of the only ways in the Médoc to be recognised for high quality.
The Cru Bourgeois offers a great place for consumers to discover affordable, but high-quality versions, of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blends.
Instead of paying $100+ per bottle, you should be able to find many great wines in this classification for less than $30 a bottle but still offer you a great example of Bordeaux wine.
Who does it apply to?
As of 2020, 249 wineries in the Médoc (aka "The Left Bank") which includes Margaux, Pauillac, Saint-Julien, Saint-Estèphe, Haut-Médoc, Listrac, Moulis, and Médoc.