Coteaux du Tricastin Changes Its Name

You’re in France and growing grapes in the Rhone Valley, but you want your region to be special, to have its own name. So you apply to the Institut National des Appellations d’Origine, known as the INAO.

From Jancis: the Institut National des Appellations d’Origine, is the organization in charge of administering, regulating, granting, and protecting the French appellations contrôlées, not just for about 470 different wines and spirits, but for more than 40 different cheeses and a range of other foods including meat, poultry, and olive oil. … INAO was founded in 1935 and, since for much of the 20th century France’s leading role in the world of wine was undisputed, it provided a role model for the administration of more embryonic controlled appellation schemes in other countries. …

After working your way through the system, the INAO finally grants your designation in 1973. You are now the Coteaux du Tricastin and set about making a name for yourself, mostly from wine made with syrah and grenache in your moderately high altitude Mediterranean climate.

Then, dontcha know, the very next year they start building a nuclear power plant called Tricastin. So you try again. And in 2010 are granted a new name: Grignan-les-Adhémar.

The spur for this post was an article in the New York Times. It’s not exactly news, but it’s interesting and it contrasts with the way it’s so much easier to get an appellation in Italy. Here‘s some info on the region from the Rhone promotional council.

More from Jancis: Grenache and Syrah are the principal vine varieties grown, although up to 15 per cent of Carignan, Mourvèdre, or Cinsaut is allowed (to a maximum of 30 per cent between them). Of the permitted white varieties, Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Marsanne, Roussanne, and Viognier, may also be included. The basic maximum yield allowed is 52 hl/ha (3 tons/acre). The wines are similar to those of the much larger Côtes du Ventoux appellation to the immediate south, which was also promoted to full appellation contrôlée status in 1973. A total of more than 2,600 ha/6,400 acres was devoted to Tricastin in the mid 2000s.

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