Tuesday, 15 November 2011

LANGUEDOC CLARIFICATION - or not?

This is an attempt, probably a vain attempt, to throw some light on the fluctuating classification system of the Languedoc

The INAO, the organisation that decides such matters, has said Non; the Languedoc’s aspirations to some wines of grand cru status are premature. Even though it originally made positive noises when the idea was first mooted. And it does not mean that the idea has been completely shelved. However, crus are fine, and there are indeed four existing Crus du Languedoc, namely Minervois la Livinière, Corbières Boutenac, St. Chinian Berlou and St. Chinian Roquebrun.

Other areas of the Languedoc have already asked for Cru du Languedoc status. La Clape and Pic St. Loup should be recognised as such very shortly, maybe within the next month or so. Others that were also in line for potential Grand Cru status are applying for Cru du Languedoc status, namely Montpeyroux, Saint Georges d’Orques, Saint Drézery, Grès de Montpellier, Terrasses du Larzac, Pézenas and Limoux Blanc. There are various technical and economic criteria that have to be met. This is the reason why Faugères is not on the list. Its cooperative is responsible for a large percentage of the production, with the result that the average retail price is lower than that considered desirable for a cru.

Meanwhile the following are currently recognised as Grand Vin du Languedoc:

- Minervois
- Corbières
- Saint Chinian
- Faugères*
- Cabardès
- Limoux *
- La Clape*
Picpoul de Pinet
- Pic Saint Loup*
- Terrasses du Larzac*
- Grès de Montpellier*
- Pézenas*
- Montpeyroux*
- La Méjanelle
- Saint Georges d’Orques*
- Saint Drézery *
- Saint Christol
- Quatourze
- Sommières

I have my good friend Christine, who works for the CIVL (Comité Interprofessionel des Vins du Languedoc) to thank for that list. She hopes she has not missed anyone out!

And the observant amongst you will have noticed an asterisk or two. Christine tells me that they are creating a new marketing status, between Grand Vin du Languedoc and Cru du Languedoc, namely Terroir d’exception du Languedoc. The asterisked areas have applied for that and will able to use the term to communicate about their area, but you will not see Terroir d’exception on a label.

I do hope you are still with me……. Really what it comes down to is that French appellations are very class conscious and like to put everything in an ordered hierarchy, which the hapless consumer does not always follow ……. My drinking decisions are based on the reputation of an estate, and maybe an area, but quite frankly whether it is a cru or a grand vin, is pretty irrelevant. Some of the most delicious wines of the Languedoc are Vins de Pays, Ooops, I mean IGP, or even Vin de France.

And another change – the appellation of Coteaux du Languedoc was set to disappear in April 2012, but it has now been given a stay of execution until May 2017.

5 comments:

AlanM said...

Laughable. They have classifications in place but then add an extra one to make it different. What a joke.
Like you Rosemary it's the particular estate which interests me not the area though it is interesting to try different wines from areas to look for typicity etc.

Bob Rossi said...

I love Languedoc wines, but this is rather absurd. It confuses me, and I've read Rosemary's entire Wines of the South of France. No wonder so many consumers throw up their hands and say: "I'll have a glass of Malbec, please."

The Wine Mule said...

I guess this sort of clears up why Jean-Benoît Cavalier was still using "Coteaux du Languedoc" on bottles of his 2008 Chateau de Lascaux even as he was announcing the demise of said appellation. Or not.

As an unlettered American retailer, I sometimes wonder why the INAO hangs on to such appellations as ""Vin de pays des Monts de la Grage." Few and far between are the customers who know or care what it means.

GrahamS said...

This is all a bit sad. If the Languedoc wants to expose its fabulous wines to a larger audience they should be simplifying the classification structure, not complicating it.

Oh dear.

On a personal note - which village do you live in, Rosemary? We have a 'project' in Pouzolles, which I suspect is not too far away from where you are.

Rosemary George MW said...

Graham - apologies, I have only just seen your comment which I agree with wholeheartedly, and the answer to your question is Roujan. tell more about your project in Pouzolles. I am curious.