Cru Bourgeois Bordeaux – Your “Go-To” for the Grill

Cru Bourgeois Wines and the Grill
Cru Bourgeois wines from Bordeaux fill a perfect spot at the dinner table when grilled foods are being served. They possess a magical combination of high quality, affordable price (around $20 US for a bottle), age-able but ready to drink on purchase. Whether you’re holding one in your cellar or you just came from the grocery store and wine shop, you should open a Cru Bourgeois the next time you fire up the grill!

What’s Cru Bourgeois and Why You Should Care
Bordeaux wines are well known as some of the most highly regarded and expensive wines in the world. However, Bordeaux is a large region with over 7000 wineries, with perhaps 100 of those wineries being the rarified Cru-Classé wines.  Out of the remaining 6900 wineries, how does one choose?

Look at the purple section of the map on the upper left. The Cru Bourgeois wineries are located in the Medoc and Haut-Medoc in the left bank of the Bordeaux wine region. Map is courtesy of

The Left Bank of the Gironde River (the area in purple) contains the majority of the original 1855 classification “Grand Cru Classé” wineries. However, those wineries don’t cover every bit of land in the Medoc and Haut-Medoc. The Left Bank region has generally gravel soils and is warm enough to ripen Cabernet Sauvignon, though nearly all the wines are blends of several grape varieties. The climate, soils and grapes work together to create sturdy red wines, perfect for foods from the grill.

Years ago, the wineries of the Medoc and Haut-Medoc formed a Cru Bourgeois association which governs and oversees the activities. There are nearly 500 wineries in the Medoc and Haut-Medoc, every year there is a blind tasting for inclusion into the official “Cru Bourgeois” quality rating. This acts as a continuously updated guarantee that the customer is getting a high quality wine, whenever they choose Cru Bourgeois on the label of the wine.

Disclosure: Wines in this post were provided as samples, no other compensation involved, all opinions are my own.

Château Malescasse Cru Bourgeois wine from the Haut Medoc in Bordeaux.

Château Malescasse Haut-Medoc AOC Cru Bourgeois 2014 (sample, $23 or online here)
Château Malescasse is located at Lamarque, between Margaux and St. Julien. It is a 40 hectare estate, with 35 year old vines. 46% Merlot, 45%Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot. They pursure sustainable agriculture, minimizing treatments. The grapes are hand harvested, then destemmed, followed by temperature controlled fermentation. Wines are aged 14 months in barrels, 30% are new.

Eye: Slightly hazy, deep ruby with ruby edge. Legs are medium stained.
Nose: Clean, deep dark blue and black fruits. Cooked fruit with blueberry, blackberry, ripe prune pie filling with clean earth, leather, violets.
Mouth: Dry, medium+ intensity. Medium acidity, medium+ fine grained tannins. Medium body with a lean texture with good tannic backbone. Medium+ length finish of dark fruit and earth, finishing earthy and dry. Can be enjoyed right now, will easily improve for 5-10 years.

Serve the wine with barely a chill and you can enjoy Cru Bourgeois all summer long.

Steak Salad with Chateau Malescasse
We enjoyed the Chateau Malescasse with dry-rubbed flank steak salad with grilled corn salsa, a Bon Appetit Magazine recipe, available here. I was careful to serve the wine at just below room temperature, around 65 F. Just enough to give the wine that cool edge. The heat had just broken in Minnesota from several weeks. The AC was off and while warm, it was a beautiful evening and accomodated both the salad and the red wine nicely.As it was a warm summer evening, I was especially careful to serve the wine with just a touch of a chill, around 65 deg. F.  Red wine rarely shines at 80 degrees, given that was temperature out on the deck than evening.

Château Patache d’Aux Medoc Cru Bourgeois 2016 (sample, $24 SRP or online here) 14%

Château Patache d’Aux is located in the far north of the Médoc in the commune of Begadan. It is owned by the Lapule family The estate consists of 43 hectares of vineyards planted with 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Petit Verdot.

Eye: Clear, deep ruby with a cool purple rim. Medium staining with medium tears
Nose: Clean, medium intensity. Dark blue and black fruit, ripe blueberries and blackberries.
Mouth:Dry, medium intensity with dark blue and black fruit, followed immediately by mineral, with graphite, slate. Medium body, medium+ alcohol, medium acidity, medium+ tannins. Firm backbone and mineral character keeps this wine firmly in the “enjoy with food” camp, not really a cocktail sipper. Nice medium finish, savory and dry.

You can serve the Château Patache d’Aux with a fancier dish, but it will be right at home with burgers, too.

Chateau Patache d’Aux with Burgers from the Grill
Don’t hesitate to upgrade your burgers from the grill with a nice wine! Château Patache d’Aux is equally comfortable with burgers as it is with a nice steak. We enjoyed our wine with grass-fed burgers from our friends at Sunshine Harvest Farm and a fun potato salad from a Bon Appetit recipe, here.

One final note: Many Cru Bourgeois wines have a QR code on the back label which will take you to the Cru-Boureois website and specifically to information on that producer. Go ahead and give it a try on the photo below!

Modern Cru Bourgeois – Scan with your Mobile Phone


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