09_france_and_the_appellation_concept

09_france_and_the_appellation_concept - 43 THE WINES OF...

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43 THE WINES OF FRANCE APPELLATIONS OF ORIGIN An “appellation of origin” is a geographic name given to a wine . It indicates the origin of the grapes used to make the wine. Appellations of origin are used to identify the better wines in most wine producing countries (such as “Napa Valley” in the U.S.). In some countries the use of the names is strictly controlled by law while in others it is simply an established trade practice. The geographic name may be used in addition to a varietal designation, as is common in the non- European countries, or it can be used as the primary identifier of the wine, as is done with many European wines. CONTROLLED APPELLATIONS OF ORIGIN A controlled appellation of origin is a special kind of appellation of origin. It is a geographic name that indicates not only the origin of the grapes used to make the wine, but also the grape varieties used, how they were grown and how the wine was made . In countries that use controlled appellations of origin, the geographic name can be used only if the wine was made in accordance with all of these production regulations. The European Union uses controlled appellations of origin and the EU system is based on the French system. Thus, in some of world’s most important wine producing countries (France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany) it is illegal to use a place name (e.g., Bordeaux, Chianti) on the bottle unless the wine was produced from grapes of specifically authorized varieties grown within a legally defined area and the grapes were grown and the wine was made according to specified standards. Among the most important production standards are the grape yield , which cannot exceed a maximum specified for each appellation, and the sugar concentration in the grapes (expressed as potential alcohol), which must exceed a minimum specified for each appellation. Wines that will bear an appellation of origin are subject to evaluation by a taste panel to insure that they are typical of the region . The European controlled appellation system was developed to protect the reputation of place names that have long been used to identify wines traditionally produced in these places—to insure that the name will always indicate the same type and quality of wine to the consumer. Another benefit of the European appellation system is that it gives the producers within the named region exclusivity in the marketplace . Only the wine producers in Bordeaux, for example, can make Bordeaux, whereas a wine that is called Cabernet Sauvignon can be made in many places. Thus the use of a controlled appellation effectively limits competition. A place name on a bottle of European wine has a very specific meaning . If you become familiar with the major European wine appellations, you will know just from the place name on the bottle what kind of wine is inside. It is not hard to understand why European wine producers resent the use of their place names (e.g., Burgundy, Chablis, Champagne) on wines produced in the United
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This note was uploaded on 06/29/2009 for the course VEN 3 taught by Professor Can'tremember during the Spring '08 term at UC Davis.

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09_france_and_the_appellation_concept - 43 THE WINES OF...

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