NEW CLASSIFICATIONS FOR LANGUEDOC

In a move designed to improve the image and to mark the improved quality of wines from the Languedoc, the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins du Languedoc (CIVL) confirmed a new hierarchy has been agreed for Languedoc appellations. Stemming from the AOC Languedoc base established in 2007,the two new tiers are:-

Grands Vins du Languedoc

Grands Crus du Languedoc

The qualifying appellations for the Grands Vins du Languedoc tier are:-

Minervois, Corbières, Saint Chinian, Limoux sparkling wines, Malepère, Faugères, Cabardès, Muscats and part of the Terroirs de Coteaux du Languedoc, including Picpoul de Pinet.

The higher Grands Crus du Languedoc contains the wines from:-

Minervois La Livinière, Corbières Boutenac, Saint Chinian Roquebrun, Terrasses du Larzac, Grès du Montpellier, Pic Saint Loup,Pézenas, La Clape, as well as still wines from Limouox.

The new catagories have been determined by their economic value as well as their adhesion to strict appellation rules and requirements. The whole idea of this new system is to "Mould the future of the Languedoc region for the next 15 years," says Jérôme Villaret, Executive Officer of the CIVL.

The council also approved a detailed plan of technical, economic and marketing strategies which will provide a structure to their initiatives and goals for the important years ahead. The outline includes measures to control the quality and quantity of Languedoc wines, assistance for producers to manage their production and sales strategies, as well as their marketing and promotional programs that will in time increase value and regional recognition for the wines.

CIVL President Frédéric Jeanjean hopes that all of the changes will be implemented. He claims the proposed programs and strategies will "transform the Languedoc into a profitable, quality wine‐making region." Indeed, these ideas have a solid foundation with good intentions that will strive to helps clarify things for the consumer, as opposed to adding to the confusion. Although the region is late to the Grands Crus game, it might be just the thing needed to raise the esteem and regard of the region, both abroad and at home.

General French Wine Classifications

AOC (Appellation d'Origine Controlee): An AOC classification acts as a consumer guarantee that a wine is of a certain standard and, normally, of a particular style. It also indicates that the product has been produced in a designated area, and in accordance with the local wine production laws and regulations. All AOC appellation titles originate from the place of origin where the wines are made, although the geographical specificity varies greatly For example, a large AOC can cover  more than 300 villages, while one of the smallest AOC's covers only 4 acres (1.6 ha).All Grand Cru and Premier Cru are AOC level appellations, and suggest a further step up in quality.

Grand Cru is the highest possible classification for a French wine. It is used in two distinct ways, relating either to the winery itself or the land from which the wine comes from. The latter system has been more widely adopted across France. Premier Cru is also used in two ways; to denote the highest tier within an existing Grand Cru classification and to denote land of superior quality, but which falls short of Grand Cru status.

AOP (Appellation d'Origine Protegee): The Europe-wide equivalent of the French national-level AOC. AOP is now being used more on French Wines.

VDQS (Vin Delimite de Qualite Superieure): This level is very rare and is seen as a stepping stone for appellations seeking  AOC/AOP status. VDQS titles represent less than one percent of France's wine production.

VDP (Vin de Pays) means 'Wine of the Land' This classification is under VDQS but above 'Vin de Table', and was incorporated in the 1970's, this is why it is now very rare to see VDQS on a wine label. The category has been removed from France's wine The classification covers about 25% of French wine, the majority of which is intended for domestic markets. There are over one hundred VDP titles, each denoting the geographical area in which the wines are produced. These areas are divided into three types; the five very broad 'VDPs Regionaux', the 52 slightly more particular 'VDPs de Departement' and the 100 or so location-specific 'VDPs de Zone'. VDP labels are permitted to indicate the grape varieties used in the wine, and the vintage on the label.

IGP (Indication Geographique Protegee): Europe wide equivalent of the French national-level VDP.

VDT (Vin de Table): 'Table Wine' - the lowest category of French wine with the least regulations of all the quality levels, VDT wines can be made anywhere in France. VDT wine labels have no official statement about region, vintage or grape varieties. Only small quantities are sold as VDT since the introduction of the VDP category.


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