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(AOC / AOP) The European AOP classification is in the process of replacing the old French AOC classification, following a European ruling in 2009.
The terms are most frequently used in the classification of wines, but more recently has been extended to act as a label of quality and authenticity for certain regional and local specialities, including cheeses.
On the label of a wine bottle, the words Appellation contrle or Appellation protge generally indicate that the wine is of good quality, and has come from a specific region.
To determine which wineries accept visitors and have tours in English, contact the Maison or Syndicat du Vin, a center representing a cooperative of local wine growers, in each wine-growing city or town.In towns small and large throughout France's wine regions, wine boutique owners invite you in off the street to try some wine and peddle you highly marked-up bottles.The best place to buy wine is directly from the producer at the vineyard, but this is not always possible with small vineyards that are closed to the public.To fly directly into the country's wine regions, travelers can take a connection from Paris or a budget or regional air carrier from elsewhere in Europe into regional airports in Strasbourg, Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse and Bordeaux.Travelers from Britain can drive or take a train through a tunnel under the English Channel.
Touring France's wine regions affords travelers a glimpse into the terrain and communities that produce some of the world's most lauded wine.