The Alliance des Crus Bourgeois selected 267 chateaux to represent the region’s best wines from the 2012 vintage – the highest number in five years – and buyers praised the selection at the London launch.
Nick Dagley, Majestic’s Bordeaux buyer, told OLN: “For Majestic our average price point last year was around the £13 mark, so Crus Bourgeois wines are bang on. We have a core range of four Crus Bourgeois wines that we sell good volumes of every year, alongside the likes of St Emilion Grand Cru.
“For me the quality of the winemaking has really improved in the past 10 years and it’s undoubtedly where the value for money is: most of the wine is not sold en primeur so it’s not part of the price bubble; you can buy mature parcels; and there is a strong quality to price ratio.
“It’s improving on a yearly basis. Bordeaux has benefited from the profits made at crus classes in 2009 and 2010 being reinvested in equipment that has filtered down to the Crus Bourgeois arena. More modern winemaking techniques are improving the wine quality. Viticulturally the yields have come down, so that’s helping.
“For us Caronne St Gemme 2009 has been great. We have La Tour du Haut Moulin 2007, which will be £9.99 this December. That’s a good example of a vintage not many people bought en primeur and we were able to negotiate a good deal on a decent-sized volume of wine. For a drinking vintage that’s good value.
“I struggle to think of any Bordeaux blends from any part of the world which have the same savoury elegance that Bordeaux has for £10.
“That’s the unique selling point of Bordeaux – it’s drinkable, normally under 13.5% abv and customers want to buy it.”
Dagley added: “Ten years ago I would have said it was the older generations who drink Bordeaux. Now, my generation who started off drinking New World are looking for less fruit and easier-to-drink wines and migrating to Bordeaux.”
François Ginther, buyer for London independent Partridges, agreed that affluent younger consumers are attracted to Bordeaux wines due to the region’s prestige, and said Crus Bourgeois is a strong recruiter.
“People who are well off from the City come in and buy it. They like to be in the know – it’s about lifestyle and it is doing well among the younger generations.
“The quality of Crus Bourgeois is getting better every year. There is more control over production and these layers of checks give more confidence to Bordeaux buyers.
“We don’t get bottle returns for corked Bordeaux wines. They still use corks though, which is good for the magic of it.
“The price range of Crus Bourgeois is good for getting people into the category. Then, for a special birthday they will experiment and buy something for £40 and get something great.”