Earlier in July, France's Institut National des Appellations d'Origine (INAO), the administrative body which governs French Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOCs) created four new Appellations in Burgundy and the Rhone Valley.
The Appellation system represents the quality wines which are sold under the geographical name of the appellation rather than the varietal. The INAO made the switch so that producers in Burgundy would be able to better market and sell their lower-cost wines, while in the Rhône one appellation gets a bump in rank and the other just gets a name change.
Côteaux Bourguignons – AOC Bourgogne Grand Ordinaire is now known as Côteaux Bourguignons. The previous AOC designation wasn't used much in marketing, likely due to the “Ordinaire” title. Côteaux will still be at the bottom of the Burgundy heirarchy and will focus on low-cost wines.
Bourgogne Côte d'Or – A new name indicating wines will be from the Côtes de Nuit and Côtes de Beaune specifically and will be made exclusively from Chardonnay or Pinot Noir, excluding Gamay.
Grignon Lès Adhémar – A simple name change from Côteaux de Tricastin. It is an appellation on the SE Rhône area with Grenache and Syrah being the main varietals grown. The reason for the name change? The Tricastin nuclear power plant leaked 30,000 litres of uranium solution into the ground in 2008. Pollution was found in the Gaffiere, Rhone and Lauzon rivers. Sales have obviously suffered.
Rasteau – Previously labeled Rasteau Côtes du Rhône Villages, while “Rasteau” was reserved for fortified reds. The area is about 10 miles from Châteauneuf-du-Pape and there are some high quality wines coming from the area. The promotion of the AOC puts Rasteau on a new level for wine consumers.