Cerdon village is celebrating while pink Clairette de Die producers are seeing red.
In France, the highest court of the land has ruled in favor of the winegrowers of Bugey-Cerdon in their case against the producers of Clairette de Die, who since last year have also sold an AOC rosé Méthode Ancestrale sparkling wine.
The war of the rosés has, after a battle fought passionately on both sides, reached its conclusion much to the delight of the producers of Bugey-Cerdon.
Just to recap on the events leading up to this moment: two appellations, Bugey-Cerdon and Clairette de Die, on either side of the French Alps, had both laid claim to a rosé style of Méthode Ancestrale sparkling wine. Historically the appellation of Bugey-Cerdon has been making exclusively Méthode Ancestrale sparkling rosé at VDQS level since 1958, gaining AOC status in 2009. On the other hand, Clairette de Die has been producing a white Méthode Ancestrale sparkling wine at AOC level since 1941 but never a rosé – until now.
Perhaps rashly, Clairette de Die was granted permission to produce a sparkling rosé at AOC level by the governing body, INAO. The decision proved fairly incendiary to Bugey-Cerdon producers, resulting in an appeal with the highest administrative jurisdiction in France, the Conseil d'Etat, which has now made their decision in favor of Bugey-Cerdon.
According to the president of the Bugey producers' group, Eric Angelot, this is a victory for upholding the historical evidence required by France's AOC or controlled appellation system. The courts quashed claims from the Die producers that there was a history of producing rosé sparkling wine in the region dating back to the 19th Century, something that Bugey refuted.
Almost half of the tiny Bugey wine region's production is Cerdon, a rosé sparkling wine made from a base of Gamay with, sometimes, Poulsard and until last year it was the only AOC Méthode Ancestrale pink sparkling wine. It is prized worldwide, not least for helping to popularize Pétillant Naturel wines – sparkling wines made from a single fermentation in the bottle without addition of extra sugar and yeast.