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?
Alexander Page You’re confusing the Cotes du Rhône AOP with the Southern Rhône in general. The only organization labeling AOPs as cru in the Rhône is the CdR syndicat (which is labeling AOPs as cru as a tiering strategy between CdR/CdR-V/AOP). CdR only covers prescribed areas in the Rhône valley, not the entire area and not all of the AOPs of the Rhône fall within CdR’s boundaries. Any of the AOPs that fall within Cotes du Rhône AOP are being called crus by the Cotes du Rhône syndicat. This is a nomenclature I have only seen used by the syndicat and in the cahiers for AOPs within the boundaries of CdR (so, for example, both Cairenne and Crozes-Hermitage have the “Cru” labels in their cahiers). If you look at the cahier for a place that isn’t in the CdR and compare them, you’ll see clearly that AOPs like Ventoux do not fall within the CdR area and therefore will not be called a cru by the CdR syndicat (since Ventoux falls outside their area of control).
TLDR Oniy AOPs within the Cotes du Rhône AOP are eligible to be called cru by the CdR syndicat, but some AOPs in the geographic unit we study that we call the Southern Rhône fall outside the boundaries of CdR AOP and therefore will not be labeled as cru by the syndicat of CdR.
EDIT - Had the wrong “V” AOP in there. Researching this one while on mobile at the gym and was switching between a bunch of windows.
This is a logical explanation. So the 9 crus are under the Côtes du Rhône Syndicate's umbrella (AOPs within Côtes du Rhône) but which organization is responsible for the other AOPs (non-crus) from the Vallé du Rhône?
So in short; the word 'cru' could basically be a "made up" term used by the Côtes du Rhône Syndicate (aka Le syndicat des vignerons des Côtes du Rhone) to refer to a demarcated AOP within their organization. These AOPs are within the Côtes du Rhône. The remaining AOPs are within the Vallé du Rhône and therefore out of the Côtes du Rhône Syndicate's jurisdiction - and that's why the Ventoux AOP, for instance, is not called a cru, because it's a term used by the syndicate.
You are right, I was confusing Côtes du Rhone with the Southern Rhône in general.
Could you please let me know if I've understood it correctly?