Leading Loire winemakers François Chidaine and Jacky Blot have been banned from vinifying their Vouvray wines in the neighbouring commune of Montlouis.

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Vouvray’s appellation rules were changed in October 2009 to ensure that all wines bearing the name, whether still or sparkling, were made within Vouvray. The only exception is Nazelles-Négron, a neighbouring commune just outside the eastern limit of the appellation.

Montlouis producers were allowed to make wine under the Vouvray name until after the 2013 vintage.

Blot, of Domaine de la Taille aux Loups and who has five hectares of Vouvray vines, has been making his Vouvray in Montlouis since 1998. In October 1999, The INAO formally granted permission to do so, with no time limit given.

Chidaine, with 10 hectares of Vouvray, bought the famous Clos Baudoin in the centre of Vouvray in 2001. Having built a modern winery in Montlouis Chidaine also started in 2013 to make his Vouvray in Montlouis as the facilities at the Clos Baudoin are antiquated.

Blot and Chidaine were inspected by the INAO in January 2015 and told that their 2014 harvest could not be called ‘Vouvray’ as it had been made in Montlouis. Blot will be selling his ‘Vouvrays’ as Vin de France at up to 24 euros a bottle.

‘We were not consulted or informed about the proposed ban on vinifying Vouvray in Montlouis,’ said Blot and Chidaine.

‘We believe the real reason for the change is that Montlouis’ reputation is now higher than Vouvray’s. Furthermore our Vouvrays are always cited as among the appellation’s top wines. The Vouvray Syndicate cannot cope with our success.’

‘I have nothing against Blot and Chidaine,’ said Philippe Brisebarre, president of the INAO’s regional committee. However, our hands are tied by the EU law. Even if we wanted to change the law we can’t. I have spent six months trying to find a solution.’

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Written by Jim Budd

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