Les Appellations d’Origine (Appellations of Origin)

The “Appellation d’Origine Protégée” or AOP (PAO – Protected Appellation of Origin in English) replaces the AOC, Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée. It designates a product of which the main stages of production are carried out using the recognised know-how of a specific geographical area, which gives the product its defining characteristics. This is a European designation which protects the product’s name throughout the European Union.

It is the notion of “terroir” which underlies the concept of the Appellations of Origin.

A “terroir” is a specific geographical zone in which a product derives its originality from the specific characteristics of its zone of production. A discrete area in which a human community over the course of its history builds up a collective know-how in respect of production, the “terroir” is founded on a system of interactions between a physical and biological environment and a range of human factors. In this reside the originality and typical characteristics of the product.

The rules governing the production of a PAO are set out clearly in a document, and control procedures to check that they are being observed are carried out by an independent organisation licensed by the INAO (National Institute of Origin and Quality).

(source : INAO)

Specifications governing the Fronton appellation

The Fronton specifications (cahier des charges) set out precisely the conditions of production (exact zone of production, planting with the Négrette as the principal variety, care and cultivation of the vineyards, yields, rules governing blends, etc.) The specifications also state what information wine growers/makers must give, and the main points to be checked.

Download the specifications for the appellation (PDF)

Points to remember !

  • > Zone of the appellation : 20 communes (9 communes in the Haute-Garonne and 11 communes in the Tarn-et-Garonne)
  • > Principal grape variety : the Négrette (minimum 50% of vines planted)
  • > Other varieties that may be used : Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsaut, Cot (also known as Malbec), Fer, Gamay, Mérille, Syrah.
  • > Yield : 50 hl/ha for red wines ; 55 hl/ha for rosés.
  • > Blending : The Négrette variety must constitute the majority, and form at least 40% of any blend.
  • > 100% Négrette wines can be made.