Published 21 January 2013
When thinking of Bordeaux chateaux, you probably imagine pretty towered buildings and men in bow ties; I doubt that adding codes to bottles so that consumers are taken to a bespoke site with information on the vineyard (details of varieties grown, planting density, yield, etc), history of the chateau, food pairing suggestions, tourist facilities, etc., springs to mind.
But that’s what the Cru Bourgeois has done. This group of producers dates back to the 15th-Century and now contains 260 chateaux. It’s been through a legal nightmare recently (basically, you have to apply for membership and prove your quality, and it seems that some producers who failed to make the grade got their knickers in a twist and brought in the lawyers). But the Cru Bourgeois has come out the other side and has recently released its third official selection of wines in its current, ministerially approved, status.
I must declare that I generally don’t buy young Bordeaux wines from the Left Bank as I find them too tannic and astringent. So I was pleasantly surprised when I tasted six bottles that the Cru Bourgeois sent me.
What surprised me was the Bordelais’ decision to add a datamatrix code in two places – alongside their hologram seal of authenticity. I suppose I shouldn’t be that surprised because Bordeaux is pretty wealthy and their reputation is the foundation of their popularity. But they continued to impress with what the code delivered: a bespoke site containing each of the wines accepted to the Cru Bourgeois, with loads of information on the wine made, background information on the estate and even details on what is available if you visit the estate (e.g. tastings, exhibitions, workshops, languages spoken, etc.).
So next time you’re picking up a bottle of Bordeaux, check to see if it has the Cru Bourgeois seal of quality and then link through to the site for a bit more info. In case you’re too impatient to wait, you can try the codes in the pictures here. If you need a reader, try i-nigma which is available on both iPhone and android.
Since the 2010 vintage, it is now compulsory for all Crus Bourgeois wines from the official selection to have the seal and datamatrix sticker. A total of 32 million bottles.