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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Charlotte Hey

In what seems to be the latest in a long line of attempts to protect their name, the 419 properties that make up the Mdoc Crus Bourgeois' are going to the EU and the French government to launch an official classification of the term Crus Bourgeois du Mdoc'.This classification will entitle only those properties in the Mdoc making wine to the Cru Bourgeois standard and specification to use the term. Preparation for the classification is expected to last around two years and the aim is to officially declare the classification at Vinexpo 2003. The classification is based on the original three-tier system of Crus Bourgeois, Crus Bourgeois Suprieurs and Crus Bourgeois Exceptionnels, initially established in 1932. This is a quality rating which the Syndicat des Crus Bourgeois anticipates will encourage chteaux to improve the quality of the Crus Bourgeois by aspiration and emulation. Thierry Gardinier of Chteau Phlan-Sgur asserts that: Aspiration will drive us. You only have to look at what has happened in St-Emilion to see that this kind of classification works.' He added: It forces those properties who have not done as well as they would have expected to take stock, look at other wineries that have done well, and work hard to improve the quality of their wines.' Each property has until the end of November to submit its wine to the jury, along with its FFr3,000 (300) registration fee. The jury, who will decide which wine goes into which category, will be made up of a total of 18 members from the Syndicat des Courtiers (brokers), the Syndicat de Ngociants, the Bordeaux School of Winemaking and the Syndicats des Crus Bourgeois. Our aim,' stated Dominique Hessel, president of the Syndicat des Crus Bourgeois, is to protect our name and establish the term "Cru Bourgeois" as a mark of quality that is recognised and respected by the consumer.' The classification will be revised every ten years. However, there are no plans as yet regarding the communication of the Cru Bourgeois' message to the consumer.