The three appellations include Côtes du Rhône Villages Sainte-Cecile, Côtes du Rhône Villages Suze-la-Rousse and Côtes du Rhône Villages Vaison la Romain, which have been added to the ranks of Côtes du Rhône with Geographical Names by the National Institute for Appellations of Origin (INAO).
The three areas will be authorised to use the new appellations from the 2016 harvest, meaning that red cuvees will be able to be marketing under the AOC system from 2017.
Côtes du Rhône Villages Sainte-Cecile comprises three cooperative and fifteen wineries and is predominantly planted with Grenache (68%) along with Syrah (14%), Mourvèdre (8%), Carignan and Cinsault. The neighbouring Côtes du Rhône Suze-la-Rousse appellation to the north includes two cooperatives and more than 20 private wineries, and has a slightly higher proportion of Syrah(20%) and Carignan vineyards (12%).
To the east, the Côtes du Rhône Villages Vaison la Romain lies on the geological massif of Rasteau, Cairanne and Roaix, and comprises six cooperatives and more than a dozen wineries.
Marc Besnardeau of Domaine des Grands Bois, spokesperson for the CDRV Sainte-Cécile appellation, said it was a great day that the growers had been working towards for nearly twenty years, while André Macabet, spokesperson of the CDRV Vaison la Romaine appellation called it a “reward” for the years spent moving up the range. “It gives official recognition to our team and their skills,” he said.
Vincent Boyer of Domain de la Bastide, spokesperson for the CDRV Suze-la-Rousse appellation pointed out the growers had risen to the challenge of complying with a greater number of new production stipulations “Any move into a higher category required time, energy and courage, as quality also has to be improved,” he said.
The Côtes du Rhône is the second largest wine-growing region under the French AOC system, and includes the Côtes du Rhône Regional, Côtes du Rhône Villages, Côtes du Rhône with Geographical Names and Côtes du Rhône Crus.