What you'll find here isn't a collection of facts, figures, and explanations, but a brief look at the historical and philosophical context hidden behind the territorial singularity of the wine. As we'll see, this was a much-needed invention.
Specific needs and long-term vision shaped what one could call a protectorate of the land; a declaration of pride and the distinctive qualities that define the very best of every region, every vineyard, and every parcel. An indelible signature, made up of many parts that comprise an identity-defining whole which represents us to the world.
Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans already recorded the vines and winemakers behind every amphora. It was a mark of authorship to set yourself apart from imitations and other gross mediocrities of the era. But in order to examine the appellation of origin concept, we have to turn our eyes to Europe. Specifically, the German spirit behind nineteenth-century Romanticism.
Passion, truth and totality. The quintessential axiom of the German Sturm und Drang movement preceded the appellation of origin: in response to the dark new paradigm derived from the Industrial Revolution (gray cities and gray beings), German Romanticism sought the connection and love for nature and rural life as a counterpoint to the drive toward progress.
The legacy of this new idealistic worldview was best expressed by Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, the Frenchman credited with developing the philosophy of origin and place-specific cultural practices as a guarantee of quality.
His book The Physiology of Taste deserves special mention, where he comes to the conclusion that “a people are what they eat and drink.”
Alicante: the origin of an organizational system. The Junta d'Hinibició del Vi Foraster d'Alacant (the Junta for the Prohibition of Foreign Wines in Alicante) was created in 1510 by King Ferdinand II to protect the interests of Alicante wines, which included the famous Alikant Tint and Fondillon, against counterfeits.
Shortly thereafter, Bordeaux and Medoc adopted the same concept of typicity and territory and established the first French appellation of origin. This doctrine of territorial protection was further cemented by the Italian Duke Cosimo III de’ Medici, who in 1716 created and delimited a new wine domain known as Tuscany, with Florence as its capital. This edict established the winegrowing and winemaking practices of the region.
It was a method of defining the typology of a product by requiring that it be made a certain way and in a specific place. The French Champagne region also embraced this idea and created the méthode champenoise certification.
The regulations established in Alicante, Chianti, Champagne, and Oporto were aimed at protecting the quality, origin, and personality of their products.
The leading wine-producing countries soon followed suit to distinguish themselves and carve out their niche in a new wine world that needed a new organizational system.
Today, Familia Torres is present in the most distinctive Spanish wine regions, each with its own regulations that provide wine lovers with guaranteed enjoyment. Priorat, with the anticipated Mas de La Rosa project, or Ribera del Duero, with the already consolidated Pago del Cielo project, are very interesting ventures that convey the essence of these areas.
As a projection of this idea, the expression of a territory where different accents and singularities exist, it is even possible to pay more attention to its specific, select and precise ampelography. Delving into these particularities reinforces the recognition of quality even more.
Quality as a passport, tradition as a standard bearer, and the land as an emotional mirror in which to see our own reflection.