Domaine Zind-Humbrecht’s ‘Zind’ is a varietal blend of Auxerrois and Chardonnay in Alsace labeled as “Vin de France” as the AOC Alsace only allows Chardonnay to be vinified as sparkling wine in the appellation (Crémant d’Alsace).
The history of the creation of this unusual wine from Alsace goes back to the late ‘80s when Vincent Leflaive of Domaine Leflaive in Puligny-Montrachet visited his friend Léonard Humbrecht at the winery in Alsace. Léonard took him to the site of the monopole vineyard “Clos Windsbuhl” that was ready to be replanted. At the first sight of the vineyard, Vincent Leflaive told him that, because of the marl-limestone soil (locally known as muschelkalk), in Burgundy, they would not hesitate to plant Chardonnay. And so in 2001, the first ‘Zind’ was produced.
‘Vin de France’ replaced the outdated ‘Vin de Table’ category in 2010but remains the most basic quality tier for French wine. This is the least regulated of the three categories, the other two being AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) and Vin de Pays, often translated as ‘country wine.’ Its Europe-wide equivalent is IGP (Indication Géographique Protégée).
‘Vin de France’ wines can be made from grapes grown anywhere in France, but their labels do not mention a specific region of origin (at least not on the front label). The category has been embraced by numerous wine makers from France because it liberates them from certain appellation laws and allows them to be creative. There are fewer rules to follow, less yield control, more grape varietals to choose from and no minimum aging of the wines before release. Most importantly, it allows grape growers to have a more proactive approach to climate change and plant more terroir-appropriate grape varietals while waiting for the local and regional institutions to act on climate change and approve new varietals.
> For more information, visit the Zind-Humbrecht official website.