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New French wine appellations

INAO France
The INAO, Institut National des Appellations d’Origine, is the body charged with approving and managing the French Appellation Controllée system – and not just for wine – meat, cheese, garlic, cream. black sausage, cider………
Andrew at www.spittoon.biz drew my attention to the recent creation of some new AOCs – for Orléans, Orléans-Cléry and Chaume.
Chaume (49 Maine-et-Loire, Pays de la Loire – see map) has until now been one of the Coteaux du Layon Villages – Premier cru des Coteaux du Layon – an area renowned for producing superb dessert wines from the Chenin Blanc grape. But now it is an appellation in its own right – Chaume AC! – somehow I think it sounded better as part of the Coteaux du Layon. And here lies the problem – the proud winemakers in Chaume will have worked hard and have lobbied harder to get their village’s wines recognised as being in a category of their own, and are doubtless rejoicing at their deserved success. Similarly for Orleans AC and Orleans-Clery AC, which I am sure are very palatable wines.
BUT – does it really make their wines any more marketable, especially as many consumers will never have heard of it?
I can see that elevation from a potentially humble Vin de Pays to the elevated rank of Appellation Controllée can make a difference, but these other sub-classifications and do not help anyone in the end – except for a little civic pride.
I suspect that if you ever get to taste an Orléans-Cléray AC (a cabernet franc-dominated red), it will owe more to an individual producer making a really good wine and getting some adventurous wine merchant (probably a small indpendent) to taste and then stock it. I doubt it will owe much to its AC status.
One such adventurous wine merchant who does the Loire well is Yapp, who stocks several wines from the Coteaux du Layon AC, a Jasnières AC and a Thouarsais! VDQS.
In France our favourite producer of Coteaux du Layon wines is Antoine Leduc at Domaine Leduc-Frouin.
Recommended Book on dessert wines: Stephen Brook’s Liquid Gold: Dessert Wines of the World

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