- Publish Date: Jan 7, 2010
Pardon my French monsieur, but this wine is an Appellation Grand Cru Bordeaux Contrôllée Saint-Emilion.
Perhaps the most confusing thing about French wines is the naming protocol. Whereas new world wines are typically named by variety, the French classification system is based on place.
The I.N.A.O. (National Institute of Appellations of Origin) was created in 1936 following a scandal involving inferior wines fraudulently labeled as Châteauneuf-du-Pape and passed off as genuine to meet demand the region couldn’t satisfy. Based on the notion of “terroir,” a convergence of specific soil, exposure and climate conditions, the institute defined geographic areas, vine varieties, maximum yield and cultivation methods (though not ultimate quality) required for a wine to be labeled under a given place-name.
Although regional classifications differ somewhat, the system recognized that certain vineyard sites, due to their natural conditions, yielded consistently superior wines than others. It thus established a ranking within each appellation comparable to a target with three bands and a bull’s eye: the best sites, defined as “grand cru,” occupy the center, with “premier cru,” “village,” and regional wines radiating outward. The pedigree always appears on the label as, for example, “Appellation Grand Cru Bourgogne Contrôllée,” the top of the heap in Burgundy.
For more on French wine classification visit www.winecyclopedia.com