Numerous connoisseurs all over the world will only drink French wine, while others hold French wine to a different standard than products produced in other regions of the world. This distinction is owed partly to the system of wine classification in France, which is carefully monitored and controlled by French law.
Four Types of Wine Classification in France
According to Wine.org, there are four types of wine classification in wine. This means that of all the French wine produced every day, each is classified according to this system.
The first wine classification in France is AOC, which stands for Appellation d’Origine Controlée.” This is the “highest grade of French wine” because each bottle is carefully cultivated according to the high standards of the AOC. Grapes are chosen based on where they are grown, and the methods of wine production are controlled.
Next is Vins Délimités de Qualité Supérieure, abbreviated VDQS. This is the second grade in French wine classification, and there are far fewer bottles produced in this category than in the others. The rules that govern the production of VDQS are not as strict as those governing the AOC wines, and according to Terroir-France.com, it is not difficult to tell the difference.
The final two levels of wine classification in France are Vin de Pays and Vin de Table. Country wine is very readily available and is considered a “bargain” for daily consumption. Table wine, on the other hand, is the least expensive grade. When you purchase a bottle of Vin de Table, there is no geographic distinction on the bottle to tell you where it comes from.
French Wine Classification Within Regions
The French wine classification system also includes further designations within specific geographic regions. For example, there are four types of wine classification in France for the Bordeaux region: Crus Bourgeois, Crus Artisans, Saint Emilion and Graves.
These grades of wine classification in France help determine the price of each bottle of wine, and they allow consumers to decide what level of wine they want to drink or serve.
Understanding French Wine Classification
In France, wines are associated with the areas in which their grapes were grown. There are appellations for each vineyard in France, and the classifications (or grades) are greatly influenced by the types of grapes grown in those vineyards, the chemistry of soil, the general topography, the humidity level and numerous other factors.
When choosing French wine, it helps to understand the system of wine classification in France. For example, if you are looking for a bottle from the Bordeaux region, you should know that nearly 10 million bottles are produced in that area each year. Most of the wines from this area are red varieties, from Chateau Latour to Chateau Ausone. There are also several sub-regions in the Bordeaux area with which French wine connoisseurs should acquaint themselves.
Remember that appellations are the sub-classifications of French wine. For example, in the Vin de Pays classification, there are more than 120 appellations. This can help dispel some of the confusion related to choosing French wine.
Terroir-France.com, Wine grades in France
Terroir-France.com, Main Classification of French Wine