France's Coteaux du Languedoc sub-district of La Clape is confident it will be awarded full 'appellation contrôlée' status next year.
On 29 May, national appellations body the INAO confirmed that it would study the application requesting AOC status, put in a year ago by the Syndicat des Vignerons de La Clape, which would entitle producers to use only the name of ‘La Clape’ on their labels.
At present the wine must be designated ‘Coteaux du Languedoc, La Clape’.
‘Normally when the INAO gives this confirmation it is a positive sign. There is a good chance that we will be an independent appellation in time for the 2010 harvest,’ Peter Wildbolz of the Syndicat des Vignerons de La Clape said.
La Clape is less than 10km from the Mediterranean coast in the Western Languedoc.
It produces red and rosé wines from Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, and Carignan, and whites are from Bourboulenc, also called Malvoisie.
The area is protected from mountain breezes by the Carcassonne Valley, and cooled by sea mists below. La Clape regularly receives 3000 sunshine hours per year, amongst the highest along the Mediterranean.
La Clape’s wines are celebrated: notable names include Gerard Bertrand’s Château l’Hospitalet, the highly-respected Chateau Camplazens, and Mas du Soleilla.
All have won Gold at the Decanter World Wine Awards. Mas du Soleilla has won three Trophies at the DWWA since 2004.
There are 12 sub-zones of Coteaux de Languedoc, divided according to terroir. The most renowned are La Clape, Picpoul-de-Pinet, Pic-Saint-Loup, and Cabrières.
Written by David Furer and Adam Lechmere