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Languedoc clarifies new ‘simplified’ pyramid system

France’s Languedoc region claims a new grand cru and grand vin system will ‘simplify’ life for its consumers.

The base appellation AOC Languedoc will sit at the bottom of a three tiered pyramid. Superior appellations including Minervois and St Chinian will be labelled Grands Vins du Languedoc.

The best vineyard sites such as Minervois La Liviniere and Corbieres Boutenac will be able to use the highest rating: Grands Crus du Languedoc.

The appellation’s trade association the CIVL said the idea was to make the system easier to understand.

Jerome Villaret, executive officer of the CIVL told decanter.com, ‘We wanted the hierarchy in order to simplify Languedoc AOC Wines for the consumer.

‘In the Languedoc we have 29 different names of AOC wines, and some of them represent only a very small percentage of the production. Consumers could not remember all of them.

‘With the new hierarchy the consumer only has to remember three categories for Languedoc AOC wines.’

It also sought to clarify the position of three soon-to-be Grands Crus.

Terrasses du Larzac, Pic St Loup and La Clape will become Grands Crus du Languedoc.

At the moment these are not appellations but are classified under Coteaux du Languedoc: the ‘Coteaux’ is set to disappear within the next five years.

These three Grand Cru sites have applied to the French authority, the INAO, to create new appellations.

Villaret added: ‘They will, in time become AOCs. We expect approval for Pic St Loup and La Clape to be received in 2011. It could take longer for Terrasses du Larzac.’

The new pyramid hierarchy will appear on wine labels from the middle of 2011.

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Written by Rebecca Gibb

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