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Chateau Bernadotte,
Superior Bourgeois Vintage

What is a Bourgeois Vintage?

The expression Bourgeois Vintage dates back to the Middle Ages. The Bourgeois of Bordeaux enriched by a prosperous business bought vineyards in Médoc. The evolution of language and time did the rest. The Bourgeois wines have become Bourgeois Vintages. This large family within the Haut-Médoc appellation has suffered many vagaries over the centuries and today it intends to clarify and consolidate its organization in a five-year verification plan for the classification of the Bourgeois Vintages of the Médoc adapted to the expectations of the moment.  

As early as 1740, there was a document from the Chamber of Commerce which testifies that the first classifications of Médoc wines were based informally on the prices charged per commune and on the talent of the local brokers!

Then the famous reference classification of 1855 confirmed this wine prioritizing method, not for their taste qualities but for their price.

It was in 1932 that the Consular Chambers of Commerce and Agriculture established a classification of 444 properties in Médoc; there are 3 denominations: 339 Bourgeois Vintages, 99 Superior Bourgeois Vintages and 6 Exceptional Superior Bourgeois Vintages.

It was not until 1962 that the Bourgeois Vintages organized themselves by creating their own trade union organization, the Alliance.

In 1972, the Bourgeois Vintages were invited, without distinction, to a competition that formalized terms by category: Bourgeois Vintage, Grand Bourgeois Vintage, Exceptional Vintage. On this occasion, an internal ranking at the Alliance will recognize 124 vintages. Decades of quarrels and protests ensued between the lucky ones in the rankings and those forgotten. Frédéric de Luze caused the Bourgeois Vintages to appear appeased in the forefront of the public view.

Since 2007 and the Alliance agrees on a "Recognition of Bourgeois Vintages" with a return of the term Bourgeois Vintage.

In 2015, the principle of a five-year hierarchical merit ranking was adopted. The official selection of Bourgeois Vintages is published each year. The future heralds further progress. The five-year ranking is being modernized by incorporating audits on the environmental aspect, the quality approach, and tasting.

The 2020 ranking is promulgated.

The next ranking n°2 will be in 2025.



Source: Winemaker author Jean Luc Barde - Spring 2018

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