What is Vin de France?
Aside from the obvious (French wine), Vin de France is a new national appellation from France. France is known for its individual appellations. For example, you don’t necessarily buy a Pinot Noir; you buy a Burgundy. You don’t necessarily buy a sparkling Chardonnay; you buy a blanc de blanc Champagne.
This is how it’s always been done in the “Old World.” The U.S is the “New World .” and the rules are different here. We buy wine by grape variety. We do buy a Pinot Noir or a sparkling Chardonnay. It may come from different regions, but it’s still generally labeled by the grape variety.
All of us know someone who has a real expertise in wine – but only California wine. It’s much easier to be an expert in this because it’s much more straightforward. You go to Napa for Cabernet Sauvignon, but you can also get a Sangiovese. It’s the easiest way to learn wine. Americans, who pay attention to wine, tend to do it by grape variety.
The French are learning that lesson. The concept of Vin de France is to make it easier for people to understand wine – even if it happens to be French wine.
We at Flow Wine Group are working with Anivin de France. the French trade group comprised of French wine makers who have opted to create wines in the Vin de France (VdF) category. We are working in New York to execute 60 retail tastings in Manhattan and Brooklyn over a two-month period. One of the challenges of the campaign is that the wine trade in the US is not familiar with the VdF designation. Obviously, all French wine has been referred to as ‘vin de France’ throughout history just like US wine is ‘American wine.’ The difference is that VdF actually means something else now.
In order for the designation to have any real meaning, the grape varieties must be listed on the bottle (and no other appellation can be listed). The idea is that the average American wine consumer can pick up the bottle and know what to expect. Many of these wines are made by producers who also make appellation-based wines. They get a higher price and more educated consumers for those, but they produce VdF wines to bring in the entry-level consumer. An example of this is La Petite Perriere Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir from the Saget family in the Loire Valley.
You will also find wines designated VdF that are far from entry level. These are usually made by iconoclastic winemakers who don’t want to be bound by appellation rules. An example of this is Julie Benau Robot Cochon Tempranillo. I don’t believe that I have ever seen a Tempranillo from France before this.
If you are familiar with Super Tuscans they started out this way. Winemakers who wanted to experiment with other grape varieties or styles had to call their wines ‘table wines’ because they didn’t adhere to existing regionally-based appellation rules. The prices for these wines – the first was Sassicaia; the second was Tignanello – started to exceed that of many of the appellation wines that satisfied the criteria of Italian wine laws. It became embarrassing to the Italians that their most highly rated wines were often from outside the appellation system. Hence IGT Toscana.
At Flow Wine Group we have conducted virtual trainings for our consultants on this new national appellation, and we provide them with details of the wines they will be pouring for consumers. Their job is to disperse the information into the marketplace to help promote this new concept of French Wine.
To find tastings near you, please click on this link – https://www.flowwinegroup.com/featured-tastings