Sunday, December 18, 2016

More Than Middle Class: The Cru Bourgeois of Bordeaux

Bourgeois Defined: Of or characteristic of the middle class, typically with reference to its perceived materialistic values or conventional attitudes. - Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Once upon a time in 1855, the organizers of the Paris Universal Exhibition requested a selection of Bordeaux's best wines to be put on display. A frantic list of the most expensive wines at the time was put together and submitted, along with bottles from the Chateaux that were fortunate enough to make the list. And so the famous -or infamous- 1855 classification was set. A total of 5 tiers were created, from the five renowned Chateaux of the First Growth, to Chateau Cantemerle, the final addition to the Fifth Growth. But what about the rest of the Chateaux not included in the classification? They banded together and created their own tier: The Cru Bourgeois of Bordeaux.

I was first introduced to the Cru Bourgeois tier back in 2013, while I was taking WSET Level 3.  It just so happened that the wine I liked most that evening was a Cru Bourgeois. When my teacher asked what we thought of the wines overall at the end of the tasting, I mentioned I was enamored with the Cru Bourgeois. She basically laughed at me and dismissed my opinion that a Cru Bourgeois could show well.

But wine doesn't have to be all stuffy and upper-class expensive. In today's economy, many Albertans can hardly afford to drink high priced wine. This is a great opportunity for the Cru Bourgeois to shine, reflecting the qualities of Bordeaux terroir and flavours at less than half the price. Here are some Cru Bourgeois recommendations for your enjoyment, all priced around $30-$35 CDN!

Located in the Haut-Medoc region of Bordeaux, Chateau Beaumont is considered to be one of the top wines in the Cru Bourgeois tier and multiple vintages are highly rated by Wine Spectator each year. The 2008 vintage boasts a fruit-forward bouquet of strawberries and cherries, following through to a palate inclusive of dried cranberries & a hint of tobacco leaf. Racy acidity and silky tannins bring refinement to the well-structured body. An excellent wine to bring to a holiday party or to cozy up with on a cold, wintry night!

Also located in the Haut-Medoc, Chateau La Lauzette Declercq 2010 boasts a more intense flavour profile of cassis, cigar box and an intriguing hint of eucalyptus. An intense body with firm tannins and razor sharp acidity that carries through the mouthwatering finish. Pairs extremely well with game meats like venison and elk tenderloin.

Across the Gironde river lies the lesser-known region of the Cotes de Bourg. Although the Crus Bourgeois moniker primarily is used on the Left Bank (Haut-Medoc, etc), Chateau Rousselle is labelled as a Premier Bourgeois, which is the highest classification level of its appellation. The 2012 vintage shows the Merlot-dominant blend with notes of black cherries, plum and bittersweet chocolate. Juicy acidity and muscular tannins round out the firm, plush body. Worthy of cellaring another 5-7 years to settle the tannins, but still shows well now if you like powerful reds!

For more information on all the Chateaux included in the Cru Bourgeois, the history and current news, visit the official website here.

And finally, I'd like to thank all of you who read my blog for allowing me to share my passion of wine with you. I truly appreciate all of the support you have given me, even if I don't get to post blog entries as much as I'd like. On behalf of my little girls and my husband, I'd like to wish you all the happiest of holidays, and a wine-derful 2017!


Sara M
The Wine Concubine