Appellation Controlee, Appellation d’Origine Controlee

Appellation Controlee, Appellation d’Origine Controlee

The latter is more correct: but is often abbreviated as A.O.C., as well as A.C. It is a system of control applied to wines in France. The local syndicates in each wine region determine the conditions according to which the A.O.C. is awarded and the overall supervision is in the hands of the Institut National des Appellations d’Origine, usually referred to by its initials as I.N.A.O. The laws, varied according to region, determine: the vines planted and their method of cultivation and pruning; the exact location of the vineyard; the permitted yield at the vintage; the minimum alcoholic content of the wines; and the method by which the wines are made. There are gradations of appellation, some fitting inside each other: for example, A.O.C. Bordeaux, then Bordeaux Superieur, then perhaps Medoc, then one of the Medoc communes, such as Pauillac or Margaux. The higher the appellation, the potentially higher the price of the wine.

However it is important to realise that the A.O.C. is exactly what its name implies – an award of a certificate of supervised origin. It is thus a pedigree of the better wines of France. It is not – except by implication – a guarantee of quality. This, as always, is a matter for the individual producer to see to and it is perfectly possible for an A.O.C. wine to be unworthy of its pedigree or, indeed, be downright poor as a wine. This is one of the reasons why the possession of the A.O.C. is not going to ensure that the buyer of a bottle of wine gets a good wine – although he stands a good chance of doing so. Wines sold in Britain are now subject to the laws accepted by the European community and the A.O.C. applies here – it did not for wines bought before 1973.

Another point to remember is that a wine with a great name should bear the appellation appropriate to itself-for example, one of the great red

Burgundies, publicised just as A.O.C. "Bourgogne’. could certainly be a risk to the drinker, because these wines should have a superior appellation. Conscientious producers, in unsuccessful years or because for some reason they are not satisfied with the wines they have made, will ‘declassify’ them to a lower appellation – they may still be good wines but not worthy of the top A.O.C. even if the authorities permitted it to be awarded. The essential is to remember that the A.O.C. is a controlled system of production, only indirectly an indication of quality. But all the finer French wines should possess an A.O.C. The I.N.A.O. also controls the production of spirits. The one exception is Champagne – legally it is only necessary for labels of this wi ne to bear the description Vin de Champagne.

08. October 2013 by admin
Categories: Definitions | Tags: , | Comments Off on Appellation Controlee, Appellation d’Origine Controlee


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