I was recently asked by a customer about Bordeaux Cru Artisan and I have to admit that I didn’t know an awful lot about it, so I thought I would do a little research. I also noticed that one of the Bordeaux negociants that we deal with, Jean-Baptiste Audy, had one on their list and, I am pleased to say, we will be getting some Chateau Le Vieux Serestin.
Cru Artisan is a largely forgotten classification of Medoc wines which dates back over 150 years to the 19th Century. It is a classification that had really disappeared from common usage in the 1930s but it has relatively recently been revived.
In 1989 a group of wine producers calling themselves the Union of Médoc Cru Artisans started lobbying for the reintroduction of the Cru Artisan Classification. The term was recognised by the EU and the French government but in 1994 but it wasn’t until 2004 when the new classification began to take shape. Following tastings by a jury of 11 wine professionals, 44 producers, from a submission of 59, were admitted to the new Cru Artisan and were able to start using the classification on their wines for the 2005 vintage onwards. A further 6 wine producers were added in January 2006 bringing the total to 50 producers.
Cru Artisan sits just below the Cru Bourgeois classification and collects together 50 wine estates. The various Chateaux are located in the Médoc, Haut Médoc and related appellations in the area such as Margaux, Saint Julien and Saint Estèphe.
These are all family-owned wine estates that are committed to quality wine production, with eco-friendly agriculture, traceability and many other strict conditions. The owner is responsible for his wine, bottling has to be done at the Chateau and the wine must be tasted every year by the Cru Artisan classification body. It is intended that the classification will be reviewed every 10 years.
At the Terroirs France website you can find the current Cru Artisan classification and list of Chateaux.
Chateau Le Vieux Serestin is a Cru Artisan from the Medoc region of Bordeaux. It is located in the north of the Medoc appellation in the city of Cocqueques and is owned by Mr and Mrs Caster who purchased it in 1982. The Casters bought the estate in a state of abandon and proceeded to grub up all the vines and replanted all the vineyards. The house and cellar was rebuilt several years later. Chateau Le Vieux Serestin was one of the first properties to be classified when Cru Artisan was introduced. Chateau Le Vieux Serestin is a 22 hectare estate planted with : 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc on clay / calcareous soils. In the vineyard, there is green harvesting, leaf removal and only minimal use of chemicals. After harvest the grapes undergo traditional vinification in stainless steel vats with a long (3 to 4 week) maceration and pumping-over twice a day. The wine is aged in one and two year old barrels for 6 months.
Chateau Le Vieux Serestin is a supple, round wine with a good body and beautiful aromas of red fruits intertwined with spicy, woody notes and ripe tannins. The Petit Verdot brings power and strength that just lift the wine.