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A new wine category covering the South West of France should start appearing on bottles from this years vintage. The evocatively sounding Vin de Pays de l'Atlantique covers the départements of the Charente, Charente Maritime, Dordogne, Gironde and certain communes in the Lot et Garonne. It will produce varietal wines and blends made from the classic Bordeaux varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Provision has been made for the use of other varieties but these depend on the area - Syrah is allowed in the Dordogne but not in the Gironde for example.

A new growers association, the Syndicat des Producteurs de Vins de Pays de l'Atlantique is drawing up guidelines on use of wood chips and other practices.

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