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What is an appellation?

Updated: Jun 11, 2020

This is perhaps one of the most frequently asked questions in the wine industry, although many people will already be aware of some examples. In short, an appellation is a protected region that gives its name to any produce grown or made there. The most notable example of which, is Champagne, which must also pass strict production method tests. This means that any sparkling wine made outside of the Champagne region in north-east France, cannot be called Champagne. Even if it is made using exactly the correct method and grapes.

It is also for this reason that many sparkling wines made outside of Champagne may bear the label -Methode Champegnoise-, which indicates that the champagne production method has been used, but not inside of the region itself.

Other examples of appellations include Chablis (which is made from chardonnay grapes), Pomerol and Saint-Emillion (both a combination of cabernet sauvignon and merlot) and Chianti (made from sangiovese).

Interestingly, the idea spreads beyond the wine world; certain foods such as Eccles cakes and Cornish pasties also have controls applied to them.


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