The five Bordeaux Côtes are looking to create a new, simpler AOC in a bid to make their wines easier for the consumer to understand.
In a decision which would streamline Bordeaux’s 57 appellations, the new AOC, comprising Côtes de Bourg, Côtes de Blaye, Côtes de Castillon, Côtes de Franc and Premiere Côtes de Bordeaux will be called Côtes de Bordeaux.
It would allow for consistent labeling displaying both the new title, and the more precise origin, such as ‘Castillon: Côtes de Bordeaux Controlée’.
Christophe Chateau, director of the Cinq Côtes Association, told decanter.com, ‘Our aim is to simplify things for the consumer. These regions have a lot in common – all are Right Bank, largely Merlot-based, and largely approachable, fruit-driven wines. With better consumer recognition, they have great potential on the export market.’
He added that the regions represent 16% of Bordeaux production, and 85% are currrently sold to the French market.
‘They are not helped by their fragmented image. A unified AOC would be very interesting to négotiants and brand owners.’
Four of the five regions have agreed to the plan. Only Côtes de Bourg is resisting, where a spokesman told the local paper, ‘There’s no guarantee that the new AOC will be successful, and we want to keep the choice over our identity. If it works, then we will be happy to join.’
The dossier is with INAO (the National Institute of Appellations), and a final decision will not be reached until later this year, but Chateau hopes that the new AOC will be created in time for the 2006 harvest. He suggested that If Côtes de Bourg does not join, the others would continue without it.
Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux