Thursday, 24 July 2014

Sacrilege

What a great name for a wine! The back story is a little tricky to tell but only because of archaic French wine laws which designate this a mere vin de France The problem is that this is a blend of the two main grapes from the region where Xavier Vignon is based (I don't know if I am allowed to give any more detail than this!), one of which is allowed to declassify the wines from the prestigious AOC to the generic, regional one, the other of which isn't.

Confused? OK, I will delve into the hypothetical. Let's say the region is the Rhone Valley in France and the two grapes are Syrah (the king of the north) and Grenache (the powerhouse of the south). In the north, there are appellations such as Cote Rotie and Hermitage which produce, most would agree, the world's greatest Syrah wines but if, for any reason, a producer wishes to declassify the wine, he can release it as a mere Cotes du Rhone.

In the south, this is possible in appellations such as Gigondas but not, for some reason, in Chateauneuf-du-Pape so if, in this hypothetical world, a producer, by accident or design, blended Syrah from, say, Cote Rotie with Grenache from Chateauneuf, it can't be a Cote du Rhone.  For some reason, it can't even be a vin de Pays, rather it is a lowly vin de France. I think the authorities would just be being spiteful in such a scenario but who really cares about the difference between a "country wine" and a "wine of France". Would such a wine be greeted by any more enthusiasm if it did carry the Cotes du Rhone  insignia? Probably not.

The real spite in the appellation rules is to refuse to allow the producer to give any information about the wine on the label or anywhere else - which is why my example above is purely hypothetical, of course.

So, what of this lowly vin de France that sells for £36/bottle? Well, I think I have written quote enough on the subject and really don't want to fall foul of the authorities. If I told you it has delicious black fruit intertwined with.... No, really, I mustn't. You'll just have to find out for yourself.