Are all 18 AOPs from the Southern Rhône considered crus - or is it only the 9 centered AOPs (CdP, Lirac, Tavel, Gigondas, Vacqueyras, Beaumes de Venise, Rasteau, Cairanne and Vinsobres) that are of cru-status? If so, what is the difference between the crus and the "non-cru"-AOPs of the Southern Rhône? I was under the impression that all 18 AOPs were considered crus, similar to the AOPs of Beaujolais where all 10 AOPs are crus - so what is correct?
Cotes du Rhône,
These are the appellations with increasing quality and stricter regulations. Over time the reputation for quality and consistency (plus some politics) has been demonstrated in certain villages resulting in elevation up the scale. The Crus are of course at the top, with the CdR Villages+name level being the stepping stone appellations. Some of these villages are small in production though (50-60ha of vines in some cases), so the likelihood of being designated a Cru at some point is quite small due to the cost and time needed to lobby this effort. It does happen, though - I think 2004 was the last major reorganization. It’s important to remember that in the Rhône and Beaujolais, quality is attached to the village/commune rather than a vineyard, as is the case in Burgundy. Only rarely is a vineyard highlighted on the label (La La’s in Cote Rotie, for instance), with a special cuvée or Reserve often being the preferred method of elevation. This is the south where blending is the key to success. I believe the other difference is that CdR Villages can be blended from any of the “villages”, while CdR Villages+name has to come from the named village, only. Crus are the same, just have a higher reputation and even stricter regulations.
Hey BrianThanks for your reply. Please see my reply to Blake Angove further up the thread.
I'm merely wondering why the surrounding appellations aren't considered crus. If they are not, where do they belong in the ranking system? They are not CdR-Villages+name nor Crus. I don't understand the difference between a cru and the AOPs surrounding the crus (as shown in the map above). The surrounding AOPs are very large (Ventoux AOP and Luberon AOP, for instance), which might indicate that there's an area limitation for crus. The crus are very small in comparison. Also, Cairanne was the latest addition to the Cru-family in 2016.
Also a bonus question: Every bottle of CdR-Villages+name are part of the Côtes du Rhône-Villages AOP, right? So the communes Plan de Dieu, Visan, Valréas and so on don't have their own AOPs such as Côtes du Rhône-Villages Visan AOP, correct?