Pink Flamingo Dancing in the South of France”

Environmental Protection is key to the newly established region. A pink flamingo is leading the way. (Photo: AI-generated by DallE)

In the esteemed French viticulture, a new controlled and defined appellation has emerged to capture the hearts of fellow VinoVossers: the Sable de Camargue has been elevated to AOC status, bestowing its unique Vin Gris and Gris de Gris wines with the revered Protected Designation of Origin distinction. And yes, their logo is pink flamingos in a wine glass. How awesome is that?

The European Union's Official Journal marked October 18, 2023, as a historic date with the publication of the regulation recognizing the Sable de Camargue AOC.

Keep your eyes peeled for the pink flamingo wines (Photo: Vins Sable de Camargue)

The decree by the French National Institute of Origin and Quality (INAO) is a testament to the virtuoso wine-crafting that defines the Camargue vignerons. Their mastery in creating Grenache Gris-based wines is now enshrined with Europe-wide protection. A commendable journey that saw these wines evolve from the IGP (protected geographical indication) label they've held since 2011.

Small Volumes, High-End Quality

Introducing a boutique appellation with grand aspirations, the AOC spans approximately 7,400 acres (around 3,000 ha) of low-lying vineyards, woven through the unique coastal lagoons and saltern landscapes, tended by a community of 89 passionate winemakers.

Annually, these artisans yield around 200,000 hectoliters of exquisite wine, with a commendable commitment to sustainability—95% of these vineyards are either organically cultivated, undergoing conversion or boast the High Environmental Value (HVE) certification. Moreover, the AOC proudly upholds an eco-conscious ethos, prohibiting herbicides across its entirety.

The geographical canvas of this new AOC stretches across 14 coastal communes, from the Hérault to the Gard, and reaches into the Bouches-du-Rhône, anchored in the sandy and limestone-rich soils of the Rhône Delta. Here, viticulture thrives on a sand-rich composition, with an 80% content that imparts a distinct character to the wines.

Historical vignettes suggest that as early as the 7th century, Benedictine monks were the pioneering vintners of this sandy terroir, cultivating what would become known as the "vineyards of the sands."

However, the wines are not slated for immediate release. Therefore, we must be patient until we can savor these exquisite wines.

Peter Douglas

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