In France valid new name AOP for the highest quality wine level "wines of protected origin". The reason for this was the new EU wine market regulation that took effect in August 2009. Thus, EU-wide is now a source-controlled quality system prescribed that the wines in the two classes, namely without and with indication of the origin divided. The old name AOC may still be used. Introduced in 1949 category VDQS (Vin Délimité de Qualité Supérieure), which was considered as AOC precursor, was canceled without replacement. The manufacturing conditions must be prepared according to AOP standards and the reference to the terroir be detected. Only then is a high classification to AOP possible.
The change from controlled to protected means a much more far-reaching and more transparent set of rules. An independent inspection organization checks whether a wine complies with the specifications of the specifications for the respective appellation. The controls cover the entire production chain, from the barrel to the bottle. The appellation then applies not only to a specific tank, but to the entire operation. The relation to the terroir is thus even more important than in AOC. There are the three levels AOP Cru (wines from a winery, location or parcel), AOP kommunal (municipality) and AOP regional (region).
Above all, two far-sighted men created the basis. The first was Pierre Le Roy de Boiseaumarié (1890-1967), the owner of the Château Fortia in the southern Rhône in the 1920s defined an area that was responsible for 10 (later 13) grape varieties and the wine due to the prevailing there climate and of soil type was particularly well suited. After much effort, in 1929 there was finally a definition of borders, but only in 1935 was the area below Châteauneuf-du-Pape classified. This was also a decisive impulse for the term terroir, The second proponent was the Agriculture Professor Joseph Capus (1867-1947). This took the cheese scandal as an opportunity to denounce the usual procedure in Bordeaux to produce wine from any grapes and in any method. Under its influence 1927 the law was to specifications for the winemaking extended. It defined, inter alia, that only those grape varieties could be used, which are sacred by loyal, old imported, local custom. Thus, Capus pointed the right way and is therefore also the godfather of the Appellationsgesetzes, which is still called "la loi capus" today.
In it were gradually approved methods pruning, maximum earnings, Ripeness of grapes and vinification methods added in the cellar. In 1935, the initiative of Capus and Boiseaumarié led to the creation of the "Comité National des Appellations d'Origine". This was the precursor of INAO, which was founded after the Second World War. Since then, it has been the regulatory and administrative supreme authority of French viticulture, based in Paris and regional committees, which defines, decrees and controls the appellations in the various quality levels for over 100,000 wine producers. Each group of wine producers may or must submit an application if they wish to be awarded an appellation. There must be justification, proof of the traditional use of the desired name, information about the terroir and its influence on the production and economic details about markets, the possible sales, as well as prices and price comparisons with similar products.
The deployment of the appellation system in France took place officially after the First World War. As a result, it was also introduced in Italy, Portugal and Spain, which is why it is also known as " Romanesque wine law " referred to as. However, the first attempts to clearly delineate areas and to define their origins had been made much earlier and also in other countries, such as Italy for the Chianti and in Portugal for the port wine given.
The main causes of state-controlled and state-wide regulation in France lie in the second half of the 19th century. Within only 50 years, the three major plagues imported from America had real and false ones mildew, as phylloxera not only the vineyards of France, but the whole of Europe severely impaired and devastated. In the prestigious wine regions such as Bordeaux and Burgundy There was a quantitative and, above all, qualitative decline. in the Languedoc and in the then French department Algeria Cheap bulk wines were produced. These were among others for wine adulteration used in a big way. The French government therefore began to enact a series of wine laws in the first two decades of the twentieth century to safeguard it.
As first areas were among other things Banyuls. Bordeaux. Champagne and Clairette de Die established. Quality requirements were not yet provided. The 1908 first definition of the champagne region led to great disagreements, quarrels and even riots. At this time, however, the system was not yet, the Champagne was then classified in 1927 as AC. After the end of the First World War, the system of the Appellation Contrôlée was decided by the French Government. In this legislation, a locally defined and controlled origin and also production methods have been defined for agricultural products or foodstuffs. The first product was the Roquefort, which was awarded a well-defined production area in the mountains of the southern French department of Aveyron. However, it was forgotten to specify that the cheese must be made from sheep's milk (and not from cows' milk). Therefore, it came to the big "cheese scandal", which also influenced the wine laws.
The appellation system assumes, so to speak, that all winemakers of an appellation can produce wine of the same quality (of course, there are differences in quality). Although this is checked by regular quality checks, the situation always takes precedence over personal abilities. The place of birth thus determines the quality, regardless of whether the vintage better or less well advised. Conversely, a wine that has not grown in a privileged location, can never be labeled with its birthplace, even if the wine is still so good. The market, however, has its own laws, it allows very well to certain producers a better quality, so that this results in a certain regulatory. This is similar to in Italy where the as Super-Tuscans often referred to IGT wines as DOCG Classified wines surpass.
There are about 480 AOP wines, which make up about 40% of the French vineyards and produce about 30% of the wines. Also declared as AOP are the brandies Armagnac and cognac, as well as the apple brandy Calvados, In addition, there are other quality terms that are valid but not nationwide but different depending on the wine region. See under Bordeaux Classification. Burgundy classification and Grand Cru,
Origin = Origin: Basis and most important criterion of the appellation system. By official decree the origin of the wine is clearly declared, after which it is also named on the label. It can be an area, a community or a location. All congregations are listed individually, and within the congregational markets, there may be the case that only certain parts are eligible. The remainder must then, depending on the circumstances under a different appellation, than Vin de France or IGP (Landwein, formerly Vin de pays ) are marketed. An appellation is not limited to any size, there are those with several thousand hectares of extensive vineyards. The smallest with 0.83 acres is the famous Grand Cru location La Romanée in Burgundy, the second smallest with 3.5 hectares Château-Grillet on the Rhone. It may happen that the entire vineyard has a single winery, what you as monopolies designated. One of the rare examples is the mentioned Chateau-Grillet, which is managed exclusively by the winery Château Grillet (without hyphen). However, if the ownership of the château increases, the appellation does not automatically increase.
Grape Varieties: Per Appellation the wine types are specified. Red wine and / or white wine and / or rosé wine with the permitted or approved grape varieties. In most cases, it is not more than three to four, which are particularly well suited for the type of soil. But it can also be more, an extreme case Châteauneuf-du-Pape with 13 approved varieties (but of course not all of them need to be used). Every single certified variety is listed. It also defines minimum and maximum shares, either per variety and / or in groups. In many red wine appellations are also admitted to a small extent white wine varieties.
Weingartenpflege: There are specifications regarding pruning (with possibly the eyes number like in the Champagne ), Planting density per hectare and type of training system, In some appellations it is also determined if an artificial irrigation to what extent may occur.
Maturity of grapes and alcohol content: There are specific Mostgewichte for fresh grapes after the vintage before a possible enrich (in France "chaptalisation") of the grape juice / must in g / l sugar. There are minimum and sometimes maximum values of alcohol content required. If necessary, these requirements will be flexibly changed or adjusted in years of insufficient maturity.
Yield: There are several terms that can be seen in context. The permissible earnings is called the return de base . Most recently it was redefined in 1984, but has now less importance compared to earlier. The much more important term is Rendement annuel (annual yield). The producers of the individual appellations submit proposals to the INAO, which take account of the prevailing conditions this year. The value can be both higher and lower than the return de base.
The ceiling limit (PLC) is a fixed percentage fixed by appellation, usually 20%, which when applied to the annuity yield gives the maximum allowable yield for that year. The PLC can be used by individual producers, in which case all wines must undergo a sensory test. Everything about it must be distillation be supplied.
Vinification: The type of winemaking and the methods allowed for it are defined exactly for the wine type corresponding to the appellation. These include, among others, regulations regarding stemming, Type of maceration such as saignée, Type of fermentation, requested Cuvée and with spirits, the type of distillation. Quite often, however, relatively inaccurate "usages locaux" (according to local custom) is indicated.
Quality control: In 1974 were analytical and sensory Tests of wines whose positive results are a prerequisite for marketing.
Quantities of production: Regulations governing the submission of declarations by producers concerning the production volume of each vintage and the remaining stocks as of 31 August.