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Wine/Gold Medals from Concours de Bordeaux and the Ministere de l’Agriculture et de l’Alimentation

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Question
Hi Josh,

As I continue my journey through Cru Bourgeois, I’ve noticed that some bottles contain a marking of a “Medaille d’Or” or “d’Argent.”  I’ve yet to see a “bronze” version, but it may exist.  I’ve seen bottles labeled with this from two institutions: Concours de Bordeaux and the Ministere de l’Agriculture et de l’Alimentation (with a subheader Concours General Agricole for the latter).  

My question is do these mean anything significant?  What can you tell me about these labels and their relative worth in judging quality of a wine?  These seem to be at least semi-official and recognized, and not mere marketing gimmicks, yet they don’t seem to appear on classified growths (probably because they don’t need it), but I’m not sure so turning to an expert.  Thanks in advance,
Ben

Answer
Ben,

I'll give you a link to a description of the competition on the Wine-Searcher website and a link to the competition website. It is a regional competition run by the French Agricultural Ministry, and as you you suspect it draws lesser-known, small producers with the opportunity for wider recognition.

http://www.wine-searcher.com/awards-22-concours+de+bordeaux+vins+d'aquitaine
http://en.concours-de-bordeaux.com/

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Joshua Farrell

Expertise

I can answer most any question about wine- types, styles, grape varieties, regions, vintages, proper storage, production, wine and food pairing, wine service, decanting, proper glassware, serving temperatures etc. Regarding questions about specific bottles of wine, since I live in the U.S. my focus is on wines imported here. I can't answer questions about spirits and liquor valuations.

Experience

I have over 20 years of experience. I was a wine buyer and sommelier in NYC for many years including 4 years at Windows on the World which was NY's number one wine restaurant. I created and taught a Wine Appreciation Course at Borough of Manhattan Community College. I have worked for the past 15 years for the Wine Enthusiast Cos. as Editor, Columnist, Wine Storage Consultant and am currently Wine Director and Buyer for their online wine website wineexpress.com, I recently judged in the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition. Follow me on Twitter @WEX_Josh

Publications
Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Diversions Magazine

Education/Credentials
Windows on the World Wine School- completed all courses from beginning to advanced. Former member of the Sommelier Society of NY. Competed in the Food and Wines of France Sommelier Competition. Traveled to wine regions in Europe including, Bordeaux, Rhone Valley, Alsace, Tuscany, Piedmont, Veneto, Rioja, and Jerez. Visited wine regions in NY's Finger Lakes, California's Sonoma, Napa and Central Coast and Oregon's Willamette Valley.

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