AOC valorization of terroir nuances at plot scale in Burgundy
In the highly competitive global wine market, Burgundy has a long-established reputation to maintain. The vine and wine sector in Burgundy is based on a five-level ranking of AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) wines and of the plots where the grapes are grown. In Burgundy, climat refers to a lieu-dit with well-defined limits, expressed through a specific wine. For the connoisseur, the unique character of each wine reveals the astonishing diversity of climats.
This situation is not static: an ODG (Organisme de Défense et Gestion) for an AOC may ask for plots producing wines with a better reputation than their AOC classification to be upgraded. This procedure will give official status to the renown of these wines and added value to their terroirs. Such applications must meet the requirements set by the INAO (Institut National de l’Origine et de la Qualité) at regional and national scales.
Upgrading will depend on specific criteria: historical precedence, economic factors, and physical-geographical aspects. The classification of a climat depends on the notoriety of the wine it produces (historical recognition, commercial impact, and price) and then on its terroir. Environmental analysis of the plots in the climat is performed using a Digital Terrain Model to characterise physiographic parameters (altitude, slope, and exposure) and geological mapping to depict the mosaic of soil and subsoil. Price trends when plots are sold provide useful insights into terroir quality. New entities can be accurately delineated since these tools are perfectly adapted to the fine scale of Burgundy climats. A detailed reading of the landscape and the promotional discourse of wine are thus facilitated.
Several applications have already been successful; others are still in the initial stages, while some exist in draft form, or have already been submitted. These classification changes contribute to the valorisation at plot scale of the myriad of terroir nuances in the Burgundy vineyards.
Issue: Terroir 2012
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terroir, field delimitation, valorization, geological mapping, Burgundy