I’ve been very lucky to get on the radar of a lady called Louise Hill, who runs one of the UK’s top wine PR firms, Philips-Hill. It’s absolutely invaluable for me as it gives me access to wine events I never thought I’d get access to. Amongst their client base is the Crus Bourgeois Syndicate, so off I trotted to their 2013 selection tasting last week.
The Crus Bourgeois is another ranking system in Bordeaux. On the left bank (so we’re talking places like Pauillac, Margaux, etc) you had this ranking done in 1855 where the idea of 1st-5th Growth Grand Cru Classé Châteaux happened. Problem for everyone else is that they haven’t changed that ranking since 1855. So what do the up and coming Châteaux do? Or the ones that weren’t included 160 years back? Enter the Crus Bourgeois!
This is done on a vintage by vintage basis. Every year the wines from applying Châteaux get tasted by the panel, and if they have a certain relative quality, they have the right to call their wine Cru Bourgeois that year. It’s a pretty good guide us lot to know that the wine’s hit a decent quality level in that vintage. That helps, right?
So this was the 2013 vintage tasting. Now the wine press (the UK wine press in particular) seem to love it when Bordeaux has a tough vintage. They proper like to lay the boot in! 2013 was a tough vintage in terms of the weather, but the winemakers cut down on their production volume in order to do the best they could. Winemakers will lose a lot of money on that vintage, but they’ve made sure they got out the best quality they could.
On this showing they’ve done a more than decent job. There were plenty of surprised looks knocking around the ornate rooms, and I mean good surprised! The chatter at lunch was all about “well that was a lot better than I expected!” So maybe we have our clue there? In tough vintages look to the Crus Bourgeois for value and quality?!
My top three picks from the tasting (to keep an eye out for) were:
- Château Pomies-Agassac – Haut-Médoc
- Château Tour De Pez – Saint Estèphe
- Château Mongravey – Margaux
P.S. If any of this doesn’t make sense or there were too many long-winded French wine terms, then feel free to email me and I’ll explain as and where I can what’s going on.