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Quarts de Chaume to become Loire Valley’s first Grand Cru

Quarts de Chaume in Anjou is awaiting ministerial approval to become the Loire's first Grand Cru.

Image: Jim’s Loire

On 28 September the national committee of appellations body the INAO approved the proposal. It now awaits the signature of the French minister of agriculture for final approval.

At the same meeting the creation of Coteaux du Layon Premier Cru Chaume was approved. Both decisions were unanimous.

There are strict rules for both Quarts de Chaume and Coteaux du Layon Premier Cru Chaume. These include no chaptalisation and yields of 20 hectolitres per hectare for Quarts, and 25hl/ha for Chaume.

Alcohol levels are 18.5 minimum potential alcohol for Quarts and 16.5 for Chaume.

Two previous attempts to elevate Chaume to a cru status have failed due to successful legal challenges by leading Anjou producer Domaine des Baumard.

The French courts annulled the AC Chaume Premier Cru in 2005, and Coteaux du Layon in May 2009.

The Baumard family had claimed successfully that these distinctions for Chaume devalued Quarts de Chaume and created potential confusion for wine drinkers.

Claude Papin, president of the Syndicat Quarts de Chaume, told Decanter.com, ‘Quarts de Chaume grand cru recognises our conviction the typicité of our wines should come from a respect for the terroir and the climate of each vintage and not from wine-making techniques.

‘This is a very important development that opens the way to creating crus throughout Loire, providing they have similarly strict rules.’

Written by Jim Budd

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