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?
It also can dictate the style produced as explained in my earlier post. The geographical designation is a legal category and its intention is to begin to define typicity or "terroir" as well as to recognize quality across a range of producers. It's essentially saying that wines generally have a typical character and a generally higher average quality and come from a specific place, so it's more than just marketing. It's a stepping stone.
A quick Google search gives me following sources: Hilarie Larson, Certified Specialist of Wine and French Wine Scholar, in an article for Winefolly (search for “The Crus” in the article):
Decanter states that there are 17 crus in CdR (8 in the north and 9 in the south):
The intro of this article from Wine Enthusiast also states there are 9 crus, although they state “Cru wines, labeled solely by their appellation, are the elite; they’re positioned above wider regional classifications like Côtes du Rhône or Côtes du Rhône Villages.” But again; why is Ventoux, for instance, not part of the “elite”?: https://www.winemag.com/2018/12/13/guide-wines-southern-rhone-valley/
And yes, Vacqueyras, Gigondas, Vinsobres, Rasteau and Beaumes de Venise were all CdR-Villages+commune name before being elevated to cru. This might have something to do with the whole "cru"-business. CdP, Tavel and Lirac was established before the CdR-Villages' establishment in 1966, therefore "short-cutting" the process of achieving cru-status, if you will.
Exactly! So is this why the 9 crus are called crus? As stated earlier, the quality and consistency of Gigondas is obviously greater than the huge Ventoux AOP where the macro climate and terroir is much more varied, making it more difficult to define the appellation's typicity. This made perfect sense to me all along, but I couldn't find the legal documentation for this assumption.
I think there is some confusion due to equating AOPs to "Crus" or vice versa. I guess you could call them whatever you'd like but as far as I can tell there is not legal distinction of a cru in the southern Rhone such as in Burgundy, Alsace, or classifications in Bordeux etc. In Beaujolais for instance it's stated; "May be labeled "Cru du Beaujolais"" This is absent in any S. Rhone AOPs. Again, I think in some of the online sources they are equating the two and since there is no legal distinction there are conflicting answers. I would of course differ to Christopher Tanghe on this since he knows WAY more about this than I but also, in my experience the compendium on this site is by far the most valuable resource online for these types of questions.
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.
I was referring to legal documentation. After a lot of Google translate and combing through the various cahier des charges I did find the term cru, but could not find any legal definition that sets it apart from Ventoux etc. It is simply referred to as Crus des Côtes-du-Rhône and the Syndicat has a list of them in this document here. Any insight Jonathan Ross?
We can always count on Eric to bring levity to a discussion. Thanks buddy! Miss ya!
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?
Alexander Page you are understanding correctly. Each of the AOPs has their own governing body and they all report to the INOQ. To the best of my knowledge there is no overarching body governing the AOPs of the Rhône valley.
Thanks for sorting this out. Could you perhaps also explain what the CdR Syndicate's and the Inter Rhône's function is?
Yeah, the documentation is sparse and cryptic, but important for the geeks.
Alexander Page To my knowledge, InterRhone is an inter-regional marketing and support group for the Rhone, similar to other EU regional wine groups, but not a technical overseer of the region as a whole. CdR Syndicat is the organization that runs CdR and, therefore, has nominal control (including technical specs) for AOPs under their purview.
Thank you for your help. Much appreciated!
I’ll take a swing at that; “why should we care?”
Am I close Jeremy
With regards to the term Cru used in the Rhone, i think it's mainly come to be thanks to InterRhone's marketing. They are calling the single appellation PDOs Crus. The PDOs for CdR and CdR Village are larger appellations that encompass multiple areas. They use Cru differentiate these PDO, and imply superior quality.
Is that what you are all looking for?