Languedoc Day

November 10th, 2011 is Languedoc Day.  Show that you’re participating with a free registration on the LanguedocDay event page.

What is Languedoc Day?

Languedoc Day is an opportunity for lots of people to discover or learn about one of the largest winemaking regions on the planet.  This beautiful stretch of land on the Mediterranean coast of the south of France produces more wine than the entire United States.  We produce more wine than all of Australia too!  Just in this one region!

While a lot of that wine has historically been bottled in bulk under vin de pays names that aren’t always recognizable (big brands like Fat Bastard, Red Bicyclette, and Arrogant Frog all come from here), more and more of our wines are being bottled under the controlled standards of the French Appellation system.  And LanguedocDay is an opportunity for consumers to familiarize themselves with these Languedoc appellations.

What do you do on Languedoc Day?

Think Languedoc. Talk Languedoc. Drink Languedoc.  And not necessarily in that order.

If you drink some Languedoc wine, you’re already doing your part!

Then think about telling your friends.  Invite some people over to share the wine with.  Or throw a picture of the bottle on facebook, twitter, youtube, or whatever websites you like.  Let people know that you’re drinking Languedoc.  And if you add “#languedocday” without the quotes, it will be easy for us to see your participation!

Which brings us to the last way to participate: reading about who else is enjoying Languedoc Day. Follow the conversation on Twitter to see who else is talking up my favorite wine region. Just follow this link:  #LanguedocDay

Personally, I’ll be attending the Université du Vin in Corbieres, a beautiful mountainous region in the Languedoc.  A lot of French winos will be meeting up to talk about different contemporary wine topics around the subject of notoriety.  I think Languedoc Day is a perfect example of how we can try to build notoriety for the region!

Can I drink O’Vineyards on Languedoc Day?

You can drink O’Vineyards any day that ends in Y. 🙂

Unfortunately, my wines aren’t present in the US for the 2011 Languedoc Day celebration.  But there are lots of delicious Languedoc wines you can get your hands on instead so cheer up and bottoms up!

Languedoc Day appellations

Here are some wine appellations from the Languedoc that you might be able to find at a wine shop or Whole Foods near you.

  • Faugeres
  • Saint Chinian
  • Fitou
  • Corbieres
  • Minervois
  • La Clape
  • Limoux
  • Malepere
  • Cabardes
  • Coteaux du Languedoc

Who decides it’s Languedoc Day?

The CIVL (Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins du Languedoc) is a interprofessional group that represents the AOC/AOPs of the Languedoc.  That means that everybody who produces appellation wines pays some dues to the CIVL, and the CIVL then uses that money to promote the entire region’s appellations.

In an attempt to increase the renown of our appellations in the US, the CIVL hire an American marketing group called the Benson Marketing Group to represent our products.  This group has teamed up with Rick Bakas, who successfully nurtured Cabernet Day, to create a Languedoc Day.  In short, this is a unilateral marketing effort.  A lot of people gripe about this saying you can’t just decide it’s Languedoc Day without some consensus.  My view is that you absolutely can.  If you have energy and resources to spend on promoting the Languedoc, then promote the Languedoc already!  No need to sit around making sure the date is okay with everybody.  Just steam forward!  Full speed ahead!

This post is meant to dispel a rumor that is circulating about the CIVL’s three tier hierarchy.  The rumor is that they have abandoned the hierarchy entirely.  I was shocked to read this so I sent emails to their press agency and the folks at the CIVL that I usually deal with.

The short version is: The CIVL is still pursuing its three tiered hierarchy.  A press agent has spoken with Jerome Villaret, director of the CIVL, and the project is still underway.  They are currently waiting on all the AOCs to decide what family they want to commit to.

I’m at the London Wine Fair right now so I will try to make time to communicate with Monsieur Villaret and let you know how that goes.

Here’s the email I received denying the rumor:

Après discussion avec Jerome Villaret, je te confirme que la segmentation est bien en route pour les AOC du languedoc avec les trois étages. Le travail est maintenant dans le camp des appellations qui doivent se déterminer et s’engager dans une famille. Jerome t appelle demain pour te donner des précisions sur ce sujet.
A ta disposition

Marie Gaudel – Clair de Lune

Here’s how the rumor started as far as I can tell:

a post on Jancis Robinson’s forum:

Well, Jancis, by the time your fingers had stopped tapping this article out, the CIVL project appears to be dead. There has been so much reaction to this senseless, dirigiste and political proposal, that the email fibre optic cables down here have been smoking. The proposal has been both rejected by local Syndicats, by growers and in fact was probably illegal anyway, as it’s only the INAO who can propose Grand Cru/Premier Cru status. Talk about proposing out of turn! Nul points!

Re reading this post, I see that the poster (Graham Nutter) probably meant the project was getting a lot of flak.  I don’t think he meant that the CIVL had abandoned the project.  But it was interpreted and retweeted and facebook status messages were updated and what have you.  And things spun out of control.

I think a lot of people want to see this project go away, but I assure you that very good sources say it troops onward.  There will be grands crus and grands vins du Languedoc sooner or later and the CIVL will be doing it their way.


L’Independant carried an article last Friday (March 11th 2011) about La Confédération paysanne de l’Aude and their refusal to pay any more money to the CIVL (interprofessional group for winemakers in the Languedoc).  I don’t know much of the legal framework, so don’t take any of this as canon.  And feel free to correct me.

screenshot of independent news websiteLa Conf’s complaint

Basically, La Conf is unhappy with the way the CIVL spends its money.  They characterize the expenditures as opaque, wasteful and overly representative of large-scale wine producers.  They refuse to pay any more and demand that past dues be reimbursed.

The immediate question is why they don’t just abandon the CIVL.  But it’s not that simple.  While they can opt out of the the CIVL cotisations by making table wine or vin de pays (or even IGP wine I think), AOCs are a different story.  For example, as a producer of AOC Cabardes, I have to pay a few Euro per hectoliter to the Cabardes ODG (the office that runs our AOC).

And the Cabardes pays over 1 Euro per hectoliter of that to the CIVL who represents the interests of all the appellations (more on this below).  In other words, if an individual in the Cabardes region wants to make AOC wine, that individual will be contributing money to the CIVL.

It’s true that I could just stop calling my wine AOC if I vehemently disagreed with the CIVL.  But I am sensitive to the fact that some winemakers have older properties and have been producing an appellation wine for generations.  It’s almost their cultural right to keep making the same wine under the same name.  Whereas organizational bodies like the CIVL are relatively young (the CIVL was created by a regional decree in 1994; other bodies like Sud de France Export are even younger).

La Conf is angry because they feel that they cannot make Appellation wine without paying the CIVL  and that this money is used to promote high-volume wineries more often than it uses the money to promote small, indie winemakers.  And they can’t stop funding this group without taking Cabardes off their label or drastically rewriting their AOC charters and having them re-approved by the INAO.

My thoughts on La Conf’s objections

For the sake of my readers, I’ve summarized my views in a list.  For those without the time or English skills:

  • It’s not a HUGE deal.
  • The CIVL does a pretty good job representing small producers
  • This issue should be debated in-house at the AOC, not publicly with the CIVL

You can read the details below.

Is this a big deal? Not really.

The first thing I should point out is that this seems like an issue being blown out of proportion.  La Confédération paysanne de l’Aude or La Conf is a group of small scale producers who feel ignored.  By definition, this is a small scale problem.  I get pretty plaintive sometimes too and I rattle on about how I’m a due-paying member.  But the dues are paid per hectoliter.  So a small producer like me is paying something in the order of 80 Euros to the CIVL each year.  Not a huge deal.  Unless you’re a larger scale producer.  But then… you wouldn’t feel unrepresented.

Does the CIVL ignore low-volume wineries?  Not really.

This is a legitimate question, but I’m actually going to side with the CIVL.  While it’s true that a lot of their promotional efforts have a more visible direct impact on large-volume wineries, it’s not the CIVL’s modus operandi.  They’re not Captain Planet villains intentionally trying to steal money from small winemakers.

Sometimes, it definitely feels like they care more about the big boys, but that makes sense.  The CIVL isn’t allowed to play favorites.  They’re supposed to promote the entire region at once.  Or an entire appellation at once.  If you come up with a great idea for just your vineyard, they’re not supposed to help you with that (that’s my understanding).  But they can do an event that promotes a whole region like putting Languedoc wine billboards in the Paris subway (totally made up example).

The most visible projects are often the ones that target the general public (like my subway billboard example).  Creating regional awareness with the general public increases shelf value at supermarkets.  But that billboard probably won’t inspire as many devoted wine lovers to buy a 20+ Euro bottle of wine from the region.  So, to this extent, some of the CIVL’s most visible efforts help big boys more than small wineries.

But other times, I feel that the CIVL is trying to showcase the fact that our AOCs have small elite producers.  It’s just hard for them to do that because they’re not allowed to play favorites.

I do feel them actively trying to find better ways to spend their money.  For example, this year, they’ve changed the way they alot money to appellations.  In the past, the amount of subsidies and help you could get from the CIVL was proportional to how much AOC wine you produced (and thus proportional to how much you paid them).  Now, they’ve removed this restriction and simply award subsidies and loans to the best projects presented to them.  This is hugely beneficial to small appellations like the Cabardes and it’s actually a major set back for larger appellations like the Corbieres.  Now, money goes to the most deserving project instead of falling to the biggest wine producing area.

And we have been successfully working with the CIVL to fund just such a project.  I don’t want to divulge too many details until it’s all official, but it should be really fun.  We presented a solid, uncanny idea to promote a small AOC and they were all about it.

And even though I named the Corbieres above as an example of a big appellation, you shouldn’t worry about them.  Because they presented a creative project too.  The Corbieres is pushing for an extensive web presence, with a facebook page, twitter account, and all that jazz.  They crowd sourced a new logo for the Corbieres and all kinds of cool stuff and the CIVL is helping to fund that initiative.

And full disclosure, the CIVL is sponsoring VinoCamp this weekend under the title “Les AOCs du Languedoc” and “Corbieres” in particular.  This is a drop in the bucket (a few hundred euros) but it shows that they’re open to spending money on reaching specialized small audiences of wine lovers.  This sort of event will not increase supermarket value for the big producers.  This is the sort of sponsorship that will help inspire the purchase of premium bottles from small producers because it’s a small targeted audience.

Should we blame the CIVL? Not really.

Even if you disagree with the CIVL’s spending policies, should you really be blaming them publicly?  Who forces us to pay part of our AOC money to the CIVL?  Technically the winemakers of each appellation force themselves.  We get to make our own charters and enforce our own rules.  Each AOC gets to self-regulate to a great extent.  The INAO is a national body that approves and oversees the enforcement of those rules, but the laws themselves are generated by the winemakers who are also the subject of those laws.  So if we (the members of Cabardes ODG) really wanted to, we could agree to stop paying the CIVL.   There would probably be a big backlash from the CIVL, other appellations, regional government and even the INAO.  But I’m pretty sure it’s feasible.  I think Fitou did this? Feel free to correct me if you know better!

While I understand La Conf’s complaints and I get similarly whiney about some CIVL initiatives (see Grands Crus du Languedoc), I think the proper channel for that debate is within the ODG.  If an AOC-producing winemaker really feels that their AOC’s money should not be shared with the CIVL, they should take that up with the AOC (where they are a voting member) and not the CIVL which really can’t be expected to give back the money they have already spent.

I’ve got an analogy.  As always, my analogies are overstretched and potentially offensive to everybody involved.  So here it goes!  Imagine you live in a democratic country and pay taxes there.  And you realize one day that your country spends lots of money on healthcare.  You’re a scientologist or something so you hate some of the medical practices that the government is paying for with your money.  The way I understand it, you should go to the government and demand change.  What you should not do is go to the hospitals and start yelling at the nurses and demanding lots of money from them.

If you’re concerned about changing things, you go to your self-regulating ODG and fight for change.

By fighting this battle with the CIVL instead of within the ODG, you drag everybody’s name through the mud.  The winemakers look petty. The organization looks corrupt. The region looks doomed.  I feel like this isn’t the best way to handle grievances with the way promotional money gets spent in the region. And Lord knows I have grievances.

This is a slightly ironic view to hold… since I’m blabbing about it on the Internet instead of in a private email to Robert Curbières and his colleagues.  But this is just a blog and La Conf seems to be intent on taking the CIVL to court.  Also, I try to acknowledge that both  parties are putting forth some effort.  Their intentions are good in both cases.  And both efforts are fundamentally flawed in some ways.  But at least there’s effort.

Another chapter unfolds in the Grands Crus du Languedoc story.

A recent article in the Revue du Vin de France about the terroirs they believe to be Grands Crus du Languedoc shows disagreement with the CIVL classification.  Notably, they include the Cabardes (my appellation and the subject of my book “Wines of Carcassonne“) as a grand cru.  It makes me happy that the Cabardes made it onto the VIP list.  And while the disagreement between the prestigious wine magazine and the interprofessional organization seems like it could damage the promotional efforts of the “grands crus” system, it will only be noticed by wine nerds like me.

In more detail

cover rvf mars 2011So the RVF decided to name their top 11 grands crus. I was excited to see my own appellation named as one of the grand crus of the Languedoc. GO CABARDES! There’s a nice little portrait of one of my neighbors, Clement Mengus and they talk briefly about how we are the westernmost appellation in the Languedoc and we’re doing interesting things.

Now where this gets weird is that the CIVL doesn’t actually consider us a grand cru. And we don’t have the legal right to use the trademarked phrase “grand cru du languedoc” on our labels even though my wines meet all the requirements for the grands crus status. And apparently, experts agree that the Cabardes is a grand cru.

Part of me is a little worried about the mixed messages of this initiative. On the other hand, I should repeat that this worry is silly because only the nerdiest wine geeks will even notice discrepancies like the RVF-CIVL disagreement. The important part of this article is that people will read about my beautiful appellation and may be inspired to try our wines or to read other books about the Cabardes. Just as the important part of the CIVL grands crus initiative is that people will see “grand cru du Languedoc” on a wine label and some people will be inspired to try a bottle of Languedoc thanks to that initiative. That is the important thing. It’s much more important than the nervous rambling I get into when people start asking me serious questions about it.

Differences between the RVF and CIVL Grands Crus du Languedoc

PS, since people will ask, the RVF’s Grands Crus du Languedoc are:

  • Aniane-Puechabon (part of the terrasses du larzac)
  • Terrasses du Larzac
  • Saint Chinian
  • Faugeres
  • Pic Saint Loup
  • Pezenas
  • Corbieres Boutenac
  • Minervois la Liviniere
  • Fitou
  • La Clape
  • Cabardes
  • Notable differences include the strange specificity of Aniane-Puechabon, a part of the terrasses du larzac. This is especially odd since the terrasses du larzac themselves are just a specific cru within the AOC Coteaux du Languedoc. And so their number 1 grand cru is actually a subset of their number 2 grand cru, neither of which is technically an AOC. It’s also notable that the RVF included ALL of Saint Chinian instead of specifying certain crus within it like the CIVL did (eg roquebrun). Inclusion of Cabardes, as mentioned before, defies the CIVL’s initiative and makes me gleeful because I know we deserve to be a grand cru. The omission of Gres de Montpellier from RVF’s list might shock a few winemakers in the Herault since the Gres have been on the list since the CIVL’s earliest drafts back in the summer of 2010. Limoux’s still wines are also omitted although I’ve seen them on and off the list lots of times.

    If somebody has the official CIVL list that got released recently, please send it to me so I can repost. I’m having an absurdly hard time finding the official CIVL list.  Here’s an article from December that has a CIVL list that seems very accurate based on what I’ve heard in aoc meetings.

    The winemakers of the Cabardes all got together recently for a dinner in the events room at Chateau Pennautier, often billed as the Versailles of the Languedoc.  It wasn’t the Hall of Mirrors, but it was very cozy and the food was delicious.  Naturally, we all brought wine along, so we drank well too.

    One of the most interesting parts of the dinner for you all was probably the short discussion we had right before breaking bread.  Instead of saying grace, we talked shop regarding the new CIVL initiative to divide the plethora of Languedoc AOPs into Grands Crus, Grands Vins, and the rest.

    The discussion was Cabardes-centric.  Since we were provisionally placed in the Grands Vins category, we are trying to find a way to get bumped up to Grands Crus.  The video shows Nicolas de Lorgeril (owner of Pennautier) and Olivier Ferraud (Chamber of Agriculture technician and a sort of manager for the Cabardes).  De Lorgeril talks about how we might be able to shift the entire AOP into the standards that the CIVL has set forth for Grands Crus.  Then Olivier talks about how we might also point out that those standards are flawed, favoring appearances over actual quality.

    After this little speech we all start eating and I asked a few more questions, but it would have been weird/rude/difficult to film.  The subtext of the video presentation is that the new CIVL hierarchy is still malleable.  This may come as a surprise to all the people who read about it in the trade lately. But the truth is, it’s not yet a law. It’s more a marketing maneouver.  Olivier actually said it was marketing and corrected himself by saying “Communications”.  From his tone, it seemed like he was borrowing that term from the CIVL itself.

    This supports my theory that the CIVL owns some kind of trademark on “grands vins du Languedoc” and “grands crus du Languedoc” and they get to decide who puts it on the bottles.  While I believe any AOC wines were allowed to carry the phrase “grand vin du Languedoc” on their labels in previous years, the new hierarchy means the CIVL will now try to prevent certain winemakers from using the phrase unless they meet those requirements.

    That explains why the Cabardes ODG (among others, probably) is trying to lobby to get moved up a little.  It seems reasonable to ask for a small amount of time to adapt to the standards the CIVL put forward.  Mostly, that means selling your wine a little less cheap to raise average price. And lowering yield.  Unless we can convince them that they should take foliage into account (a ratio of yield over surface area of leaves).

    Anyway, interesting discussion, right?

    Another point that came up was that while it’s not a law yet, we all assume the CIVL will seek INAO approval or some sort of legislative reinforcement for this marketing/communications strategy so that it can be comparable to the Classification of 1855 or the Grands Crus in Bourgogne.  Just looking for a little legitimacy.

    There’s probably a whole other post to be written on the intriguing switch from legislation to marketing.  While INAO classification used to be the end-all for wine prestige, modern efforts start at the trademark office.  And doesn’t that make sense?  Few people can make any sense of the intricate European wine laws that have built up over the centuries.  In a market dominated by brand-building, maybe the interprofessions are correct to move away from politics and toward marketing spheres.  Grands Crus du Languedoc, Sud de France, etc.

    What do all these letters mean?

    I recently wrote about Lilian Bauchet getting controlled.   Those of you who read French, check out Lilian’s whole post as he does a good job of explaining the rather convoluted delineation between the various organizations in the alphabet soup that legislates our vineyards. ODG, INAO, CIBAS, ETC.

    For those of you who don’t really read French, here is my explanation:

    Basically (hah!), to make AOP wines (AOC is now called AOP, stick with me), you have to belong to an ODG. The ODG has a constitution that states all the rules of your AOP. The ODG sends that constitution to the INAO which is a national organization that will approve your constitution or recommend modifications. Then, there are independent control groups which are tasked with the enforcement and management of certain bureaucratic procedures tied to the ODGs. These control groups vary by region but are always INAO-approved. And working with them is not optional. So essentially they are INAO-mandated, but if they do something wrong, the INAO can just say “oh well you have to complain to them not us”. In Lilian’s story, the control group is the CIBAS, but in my region it’s the OI (I think).

    Also, the INAO encourages the ODG to perform regular and random auto-controls where we inspect each other’s vines. Then the control group like the CIBAS just has to control a portion of our controls to verify that we’re doing a good job on our own. This is probably why the dude checking Lilian’s vines out was a grape growing neighbor of his.

    And you can’t just lump all the abbreviations and wine laws together.  Because while the majority of these letters belong to a similar group, some function independently or parrallel to the above acronyms.  The CIVL, CIVR, CIVB, etc. are interprofessional groups.  They are supposed to represent all growers.  They are technically separate from the AOPs even though most AOPs are adherents that pay to be represented by the region’s CIV.

    Furthermore, the IGP system is a more centralized European classification that doesn’t necessarily have any correlation whatsoever to AOP, VDQS, VDP, or VDT classifications.

    And then you have all the regional bodies that aren’t law makers but essentially marketing and events firms like Sud de France, InterRhone(?), Vins de Bordeaux(?), SOPEXA(?), etc.

    What do the actual letters stand for?  Good question.. I think the following:

    • INAO- Institut National des Appellations d’Origine (although their own website says it stands for “Institut national de l’origine et de la qualité” but INdlOedlQ was less catchy.)
    • AOC- Appellation d’Origine Controlée
    • AOP- Appellation d’Origine Protegée (exactly like AOCs but with ironically more Controls)
    • ODG- Organisme de Défense et de Gestion
    • OI-  ???? the inao-approved group that Cabrdes ODG uses to enforce our rules
    • CIBAS- ??? the inao-approved group that Bourgogne sometimes uses
    • IGP- Indication Géographique Protégée
    • CIVL- Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins du Languedoc
    • CIVR- Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins du Roussillon
    • CIVB- Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins du Bordeaux
    • BIVB- Bureau Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bourgogne
    • VDQS- Vin de Qualité Superieur
    • VDP- Vin de Pays
    • VDT- Vin de Table, soon to become Vin de France(?)

    So there. You don’t need to ask what does AOC stand for anymore.  Now you know.  And you also know that you’re supposed to be asking what AOP stands for.  Keep up with the times!

    The CIVL (Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins du Languedoc — but I’m sure you knew that ;D) has declared a new system of classification in the Languedoc to separate and celebrate the “Grands vins du Languedoc” and “Grands Crus du Languedoc”.  Articles in Harpers and Drinks Business for the full story.

    A lot of people have been asking me what I think about this and I guess I should take a moment to express my personal feelings about how the CIVL’s newly declared hierarchy.

    On the one hand, the Languedoc is certainly entitled to having some Grands Crus or terroirs/wineries that have proven themselves over time to be emblematic champions of the region.  It might seem absurd or capricious today to arbitrarily say that certain places or people are better winemakers than others.  But hey, fake it til you make it.  In a hundred years, the Grands Crus du Languedoc might seem  just as legitimate as the Grands Crus de Bordeaux or Grands Crus de Bourgogne (determined by the laws from 1855, parcel drawings of Cistercian monks, and other really legit old stuff).

    That said, it’s a pretty classic move for my dear region.  At a time when so much of the world mocks the complexity, capriciousness, and obsolesence of the Grands Crus system in other parts of France, we establish a long term plan to incorporate it into how we sell wine.  We’re about 200 years too late.  But hey, it can’t really hurt us.

    At worst, a couple of people (generally folks who are “in the know” about wine) will ridicule the effort.  But at best, we can seriously raise self-esteem in the area.  We have to throw our old defeatist attitude in the rubbish bin.  The Languedoc is GREAT.  And we have Grands Crus too!  Power to us.

    Now, what do we hope to gain from it?  Other than just being a positive mantra to sort of repeat to yourself as you wake up each morning?  I don’t know.

    When Frederic Jeanjean, President of the CIVL and owner of Jeanjean (edit: large groupe viticole based out of Terrasses du Larzac) says the strategy will “transform the Languedoc into a profitable, quality wine?making region”, I think that’s a little ambitious.  Really?  Calling certain wines and crus Grand is going to transform the Languedoc into a profitable quality winemaking region?  That’s a tall order.  What exactly is the strategy being referred to?  Well, the Drinks Business article alludes to “a detailed action plan of technical, economic and marketing strategies, which will provide a framework for its activities over the coming years.”  Let me tell you, that I have not seen much of that detailed plan of action.

    Short of checking the CIVL news site (which I really like), I don’t get much news from them at all.  You might assume this is some fault of mine, but let me clarify my relationship to the interprofession.  I am forced to pay dues to put AOC Cabardes on my wine bottles.  And a significant portion of those dues goes to the CIVL.  So I am a paying member of the Interprofession.  Then they also send you letters and try to get you to pay as an individual.  So they have my address.  But they don’t send me invitations to the assemblee generale.  Just more requests for me to make double payments on my wine production.

    Here’s the only thing I have received regarding the new hierarchy plan, copied and pasted from an email sent within the AOC Cabardes ODG (our syndicat):

    Premier niveau : LES VINS DU LANGUEDOC

    ð Niveau d’objectif : entre 3 et 4 € par col (prix TTC consommateurs) et pour les marques de distributeurs : 2,50 € par col (prix TTC consommateurs).

    ðPrix vrac d’objectif : 90 à 100 € l’hl avec un rendement de : 50 à 55 hl/ha

    ðPrix plancher d’objectif : 80€ l’hl.


    ðNiveau d’objectif :entre 4 € et 7 € par col (prix TTC consommateurs).

    ðRendement de 48 à 50 hl/ha

    ðPossibilité de repli en AOC LANGUEDOC (a priori pour le Cabardès sous réserve d’identification par l’INAO des parcelles complantées en cépages méditerranéens)

    Troisième Niveau : LES CRUS DU LANGUEDOC

    ðNiveau d’objectif : au-delà de 7-10 €/cols (prix TTC consommateurs au caveau)

    Les AOP du Languedoc seront réparties entre le deuxième niveau (les grands vins du Languedoc) et le troisième niveau (les crus du Languedoc) en fonction :

    – du souhait de positionnement des ODG de chaque appellation

    – de critères économiques précis garantissant l’homogénéité du segment de marché.

    Les critères économiques retenus en première analyse pour accéder au segment « crus du Languedoc » :

    – nombre de producteurs (entre 30 et 50 metteurs en marché),

    – volume de production (entre 25.000 à 35.000 hectolitres commercialisés),

    – rendement maximum (45 hl/ha : critères INAO 2008),

    – prix vrac (>150 €/hl) ou pourcentage des ventes directes (>70%),

    – prix consommateurs (caveau > 10 € TTC /  GD : > 7 € TTC ),

    – mise en bouteille en région restreinte de production

    And this is a CIVL powerpoint PROJET DE SEGMENTATION DE L’OFFRE DES AOC which ostensibly originates from that June assemblee referred to in the Drinks Business article.

    So I guess the plan is just to limit each tier to a certain yield, certain price per bottle, total number of producers, certain size of plantation, and quantity of production (although this should really be a function of yield and size of plantations).

    Anyway, this is a really long post just to say that I don’t really know what I think about this new strategy.  If the CIVL continues to operate in a way that even a winemaker like me who spends a great deal of effort trying to stay branché has no idea what they’re doing, I don’t see how this new system of classification can “transform the Languedoc into a profitable, quality wine?making region”.  A rose by any other name.

    But at the same time, I’m glad to see they’re sending out positive press releases and that people are reading that stuff.  Because hey, we deserve grands crus just as much as Bordeaux if not more.

    PS – One of the execs at the CIVL said that the new hierarchy will “mould the future of the Languedoc region for the next 15 years.” … Even that seems a little ambitious.  I feel like I’m probably going to have more impact on this region than some system of classification put forth by the CIVL (who has lost a lot of gumption in the Freche years) but I guess that’s a subject for another post.

    OVineyards winemaker dinner at Carcassonne

    O'Vineyards winemaker dinner

    We were interviewed for Food and Wine Talk, a radio program based out of Miami and hosted by Simone Diament and Carole Kotkin.

    Winemaker interview for Domaine O’Vineyards

    This was an event organized about a year ago by the CIVL and they had a little winemaker dinner with some American press.  Since our wines had been selected for the US Ambassador tour, we were poked to do this very fun dinner in the medieval castle city of Carcassonne.  There was another larger producer in the Malpere present, so it was a fun western-Languedoc dinner.  Not enough focus on the Malpere and Cabardes, two Languedoc appelations with very peculiar varietals available to them (eg. Merlot, Cabernet)

    Here’s the full article about Carole’s Languedoc travels.

    How to find us

    Domaine O’Vineyards, located in the North Arrondissement of Carcassonne, is just minutes from the Carcassonne train station, the Medieval City, and the Carcassonne Airport.
    GPS coordinates: 43.259622, 2.340387

    Wine, Dine, Relax at our Boutique Vineyard
    Unique thing to do in Carcassonne
    Wine Cellar. Winery Visits. Wine Tasting.
    Wine & Food Pairing

    North Arrondissement of Carcassonne
    885 Avenue de la Montagne Noire
    11620 Villemoustaussou, France
    Tel: +33(0) 630 189 910

    1. Best by GPS.
      Follow the signs to Mazamet/ Villemoustaussou using the D118. At the end of the last straight part of D118, you will come to a roundabout with the Dyneff gas station.
    2. Take the exit towards Pennautier. Continue 500m to a small roundabout and go straight over.
    3. Look out for the second road on your right, Avenue des Cévennes which curves up hill (about 1km) to Avenue de la Montagne Noire on the left.
    4. At the last juction, bear left. the road sign “Ave de la Montagne Noire” (confusing as it seems to show a right turn)
    5. After another 500m you will see our red brick color building in the middle of the vines.