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Pommard producers step up grand cru promotion push

Producers in three premier cru areas of Pommard have stepped up their quest to achieve grand cru status by submitting a 150-page support dossier to the local INAO office.

The Dijon office of the French national appellation authority, INAO, is examining the report, which covers the areas of Pommard Rugiens (haut et bas), Pommard Epenots (grands et petits) and Clos des Epeneaux.

‘It took us two years to put together this dossier,’ Aubert Lefas, vice president of the Pommard vintners union, told decanter.com.

The dossier, which is not publicly available, argues that prices for wines from the three premiers crus have been ‘regularly higher’ than other Pommard premiers crus, that historical ratings exist that would justify a promotion and that ‘the complexities of the soils’ coming from all three areas also warrant grand cru status.

Producers’ formal application comes as global demand for top Burgundy remains high. Last month’s 153rd annual Hospices de Beaune auction raised its highest total to date, EUR6.3m (US$7.2m), off its smallest volumes for three decades.

Lefas said the total area up for promotion in Pommard is 41 hectares, which covers 13 ha for the Rugiens, 23 for Epenots and five for Clos des Epeneaux. If secured, that would give Pommard 41ha grand cru vineyards, 85ha of premier cru and some 200ha at ‘village’ level.

‘These numbers add up logically,’ Lefas said. ‘We do not want to create an inflation of grands crus but make appropriate amendments to what it means in Burgundy to be a grand cru.’

He is, however, prepared for a lengthy process. Grand cru status, if it comes, would be unlikely before 2015 at the earliest.

The local INAO is likely to want more evidence on yields, planting conditions and harvesting methods, decanter.com understands.

After this, the issue may be sent to the regional INAO for Burgundyin February 2014. It may then be sent to INAO headquarters in Paris, which would have to send an investigative committee to visit Pommard. If things get that far, it could take up to two years for the committee to do its research.

Written by Panos Kakaviatos

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