Loire producer Domaine des Baumard has provoked fury by challenging the new Quarts de Chaume Grand Cru appellation in France's Supreme Court.
Quarts de Chaume: legal challenge
Jean and Florent Baumard of Domaine des Baumard are seeking to have the new decree annulled as well as that of Coteaux du Layon Premier Cru Chaume.
The two new appellations were agreed unanimously by the INAO on 28 September last year.
They set strict rules: yields of 20 hectolitres per hectare for Quarts, and 25hl/ha for Chaume and no chaptalisation. Mechanical freezing or cryoextraction, which had been allowed as an experiment, will be phased out.
Florent Baumard (pictured) told Decanter.com they were not against the idea of a grand cru appellation, but the text of the decree is ‘full of contradictions and errors’.
The Baumards successfully mounted two previous legal challenges to Chaume appellations in 2005 and 2009, arguing that different allowances for yields and chaptalisation for Chaume devalued Quarts de Chaume and would confuse wine drinkers.
‘The producers wanted to have a grand cru at any price. Many want to sell their domaines and think that if it’s is a grand cru it will be easier to sell.’
The Baumards’ legal challenge has provoked a furious reaction from fellow producers.
Pierre Aguilas, producer and president of the INAO regional committee, said: ‘Quarts de Chaume is a very great appellation and many have worked very hard to bring it up to a standard that merits a grand cru. Now all this work over the past 20 years, here and in the rest of Anjou, is threatened by the egotistical actions of one individual.’
Stéphane Branchereau of Domaine des Forges said, ‘We tried to be conciliatory – for example in the phasing out of cryoextraction – but it hasn’t worked.’
Written by Jim Budd