Rosengarten on Forbes: Cru Bourgeois: A Contentious History, But A Real Force For Good In Modern Bordeaux

September 15, 2015.

The historic wine region of Bordeaux has been in a pickle for some years.

Back in the great old days, once upon a time, every wine drinker everywhere—beginner or veteran geek—thought first of Bordeaux when selecting a bottle of wine. The names and the traditions were irresistible: Château Margaux, Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Haut-Brion, etc. The incredibly low prices of these spectacular wines helped the knee-jerk Bordeaux tradition thrive for hundreds of years; a bottle of Château Mouton Rothschild, back in the good old year of 1971, might cost you $15.

Then all hell broke loose.

Bordeaux lost its hegemony in the world of wine, sniped at by upstart regions from everywhere. Bordeaux producers had to charge more…and newly rich people in new wine markets (like China) were willing to pay the higher prices. Way willing. Today, most of the top Bordeaux wines will cost you in the vicinity of $400 a bottle…when just released! A few special ones (like Château Pétrus) will cost even more…as much as $2000 a bottle…young!

As the prices went up over the last 40 years, the general addiction to Bordeaux wine diminished. To many wine drinkers today, Bordeaux wines are something other people drink…because, in many cases, this people cannot even imagine affording them.


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