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A.O.C. 3

The Appellation Contrôlée System cont 2

3. Degree of alcohol.
All AOC wines must have a minimum degree of alcohol and in some cases a maximum. This minimum may be attained by the natural sugar in the grape aided by chaptalization which is strictly controlled to a maximum of 2% in most regions of France and forbidden in the southern Cotes du Rhône and the Midi.

4. Yield per hectare.
Each appellation has a maximum permitted yield per hectare.
This is known as the rendement de base (basic yield) and is fixed by decree by the INAO.
There has been a recent tendency by the INAO to increase these basic yields. Further, the
local Syndicats can apply for an augmentation or reduction (never yet applied for)
in the basic yield depending on the quality and quantity of the crop.
This is known as the rendement annuel (yearly yield).
On top of this, each appellation can apply (but it is refused in the case of Grand Cru wines) for a further increase of up to 20% on the rendement annuel, known as the plafond limité de classement (PLC).
In some cases, AOC Bordeaux for example, these two reclassifications can result in
the basic yield being increased by as much as 60%. While this appears dangerously
high, it must be added that any producer declaring wine in excess of the rendement
annuel + PLC will lose the appellation for the whole crop.

5. Methods of viticulture.
Control of the number of vines per hectare, the type of pruning, in some cases the
method of picking (by successive iris for Sauternes), and whether or not the grapes
may be destalked prior to fermentation.

6. Methods of vinification.
Prohibition of the use of concentrated musts in most appellations and of vintage (addition of alcohol to the must) in all wines. Acidification and de-acidification are permitted under the control of the local Station Oenologique.

7. Analysis and tasting.
Since the 1979 vintage, all AOC wines must be submitted to a tasting panel made up of members of the local Syndicat and representatives of the INAO. Those that do not pass are declassified but may be represented.
A second declassification is final.


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