I was sent some 2010 cru bourgeoise the other day to try before they are released to the general public and I have to say that they are showing well. If the few that I’ve tried on anything to go by, 2010 should be drinking well.
Although the lion’s share of attention goes every year to the First Growths of Bordeaux, they actually comprise only a very small percentage of the wine that is produced in the region. If you can’t afford the First Growths, and frankly, who but only those with deep pockets has access to those superstars? Luckily, for us mere mortals, there are the Cru Bourgeois wines.
Cru Bourgeois has had a bit of a rocky history regarding its classification system but in 2009 everything was finally sorted out and a new set of guidelines were introduced to ensure that all wineries that qualified were allowed into the classification system. Cru Bourgeouis encompasses not only new vineyards within the Bordeaux appellations but also many vineyards that existed even before the 1855 classification but were for whatever reason, left out of it.
Very briefly, in order to qualify for Cru Bourgeois classification, the wines must be from the Medoc vineyards that are authorized to produce wine in one of the 8 Medoc AOC’s: Medoc, Haut-Medoc, Listrac-Medoc, Moulis, Margaux, St. Julien, Paulliac and St. Estephe. A set of minimum standards are then set up each year and each wine must receive at least the minimum score to gain the Cru Bourgeois seal of approval.
It’s easy to identify the Cru Bourgeois wines by the sticker that each bottle that has been approved sports.
I popped open the 2010 Chateau Pontet-Chappaz the other day over dinner with friends. This particular wine is from the Margaux appellation and was delightfully perfumed with ripe fruit and a freshness about it that made it a delight to drink. good structure and tannins that, while not round, definitely exhibited some ovoid qualities. In short, I liked this wine and think it’s drinking well but will certainly improve with a few more years.
The 2010s are not available in the UK yet but will be in the next few months. As an added bonus, these wines usually retail in the £15 to £20 range which makes them accessible to wine lovers. Berry Brothers & Rudd carry a good selection of Cru Bourgeois but they can also be found in fine wine merchant shops.