Passion in the bottle: find out why you can't miss the Vins de France !
Gems for connoisseurs to perfect wines for young consumers. French wine, formerly known as "vin de table" (table wine), is increasingly highlighted for many reasons. Each Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) in France has more or less strict specifications. Some regions even have additional control organizations to ensure the quality and homogeneity of the wines from the region.
Freedom of taste
In many French AOCs, control organizations such as "Quali Bordeaux" in Bordeaux taste the wines to verify if they can be sold under the Bordeaux AOC appellation. They ensure taste homogeneity and wine quality within the AOC.
However, this homogeneity can be problematic when consumer preferences evolve. Winemakers producing wines of France focus more on satisfying consumer taste because they cannot rely solely on the appellation's reputation. Thus, winemakers can cater to specific taste preferences by adjusting sweetness during bottling and producing original wines that differ from AOC wines.
For example, a few years ago, Bordeaux was renowned for its blended wines, but the first single-varietal wines emerged as "vin de France." This allows consumers who have never tasted these wines to have a clearer idea of the potential taste of the bottle.
Freedom of grape varieties
Winemakers who choose to produce wines of France enjoy complete freedom in choosing grape varieties. Climate change allows winemakers to cultivate prohibited grape varieties from other regions. For instance, in the Bordeaux AOC, only six grape varieties are allowed: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Carménère. In contrast, in wines of France, it is possible to produce grape varieties from the south of France, such as Shiraz or Grenache.
Each grape variety, of course, requires specific terroir characteristics, but in certain regions, it is possible to find soils and weather conditions perfectly suited to these grape varieties. Winemakers can choose to produce prohibited grape varieties in the regional AOC to meet the needs and demands of their customers, including spicier or lighter wines.
Freedom of production volume
AOC specifications impose a maximum annual production volume to regulate volumes. For example, on average, the Bordeaux AOC allows about 50 hectoliters per hectare, while for Pessac-Léognan, it is about 57 hectoliters. In contrast, the specifications for wines of France do not impose any maximum volume.
This allows winemakers to produce the volume of wine they desire. Higher yields result in more diluted must, producing wines that are easy to drink for the general public. Conversely, lower yields yield more concentrated must, appealing to connoisseurs and lovers of powerful wines. This freedom of volume allows winemakers to adapt to their preferences and those of their clients.
Vin de France do not benefit from a communication and marketing budget. Winemakers must promote their wines themselves and cannot hide behind the reputation of an AOC. Their success relies solely on the quality that meets the expectations of their clients, as well as their dynamism in terms of communication and commerce. Unlike the historical wine trade in Bordeaux (bulk wines purchased from winemakers by merchants), winemakers producing wines of France are in direct contact with their clients.
This allows them to precisely understand consumer expectations and offer wines that correspond to their desires. This freedom of communication and independence has several advantages. Let's take the example of Bordeaux, where promotional organizations concentrate their efforts on the major appellations, which represent a minority of the total volume of wine produced in the region. However, the contributions from winemakers remain significant.
This situation creates a misunderstanding among consumers regarding Bordeaux wines. The perceived image is that of oaky wines sold at astronomical prices, reserved for extremely wealthy individuals. But the reality is quite different: Bordeaux actually produces a large quantity of wine intended for the working class.
By avoiding spending large sums of money on these prestigious appellations, winemakers can allocate these resources to their own communication and thus distance themselves from this negative brand image. This allows them to highlight their own wines, promote their accessibility, and connect directly with consumers without relying on costly intermediaries. Thus, winemakers can better convey the diversity and richness of Bordeaux wines, offering options for all tastes and budgets.
For many years, bottles were associated with specific regions. For example, Bordeaux wines could not be bottled in Burgundy bottles and vice versa. However, producers of wines of France can use the bottle format of their choice. This allows them to select the format that best suits their wine and brand image.
Embracing Risk Winemakers who take the risk of producing wines of France face many challenges. In addition to being grape growers and winemakers, they must also excel in sales and communication.
In an industry where producers are often isolated from consumers, it is difficult for them to meet the specific needs of their clients. Bold winemakers producing wines of France have the courage to innovate and produce wines that appeal to the working class and young wine enthusiasts - such as Popcorn 2020 - while also offering wines of very high quality, such as Astarte and Popcorn 2018.
In summary, trying wines of France offers a unique experience of freedom, diversity, and originality. These wines reflect consumer expectations, allow for greater creativity in production, and provide direct communication between the winemaker and the consumer. This offers them the opportunity to promote their own wines, reach a wider audience, and offer wines suitable for all palates and budgets.
So, let yourself be tempted by the richness and authenticity of wines of France and discover new flavors that will pleasantly surprise you.
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