Coteaux du Giennois celebrates 20 years as an appellation
Appellation Coteaux du Giennois is celebrating its first 20 years this year. In 1998 it was promoted from VDQS to full appellation contrôlée status. The VDQS category was created in 1949 and was intended as an in-between status between vin de pays and full appellation. Giennois became a VDQS in 1954. VDQS came to end on 31st December 2011. Most VDQSs were promoted to full appellation status. In the Loire this was eventually the case: all the previous VDQSs were promoted to full appellation status.
Coteaux du Giennois produces wine in all three colours – Sauvignon Blanc for the whites and Gamay and Pinot Noir for the reds and rosés. Prior to promotion to AC status it was possible to make 100% Pinot Noir and from my tastings these were the most successful reds. Unfortunately the INAO insisted that all the Loire VDQSs, who had Gamay and Pinot Noir, had to agree not to make 100% Pinot Noir. Instead if a producer used Pinot Noir it had to be blended with Gamay. This demand has always appeared to be political rather then following any tradition. In contrast 100% Gamay is permitted.
Currently there are 194 hectares producing Coteaux du Giennois, this is slightly down on on 2016 when there were 204 hectares. Annual production averages at 7721 hectolitres from 37 producers. In 2016 83% of Giennois’ sales were in France with just 17% exported.
The majority of the reds are easy drinking with most to be drunk in their first few years. The best are those with a very high proportion of Pinot Noir….. The whites are attractively fresh and lemony. Unfortunately the appellation has been considerably hit by frost in both 2016 and 2017.
Some recommended producers: Emile Balland, Clément and Florian Berthier Henri Bourgeois, Matthieu Coste, Domaine de l’Epineau, Domaine de Villargeau, Joseph Mellot, Philippe Raimbault, Sébastien Treuillet