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Question about 'Lieu dit'


I have seen a couple of Saint-Joseph wines labeled as ‘Lieu dit Saint-Joseph’ (Guigal and Ferraton) and I was wondering if anyone knows if this is just naming or if it has some more significant meaning? I do understand that ‘lieu dit’ essentially means locality, but isn’t that already fully implied by the Saint-Joseph AOC?

Yours Confused of Inverness.


I thought it was the name of a particular parcel within the bigger appellation…


My understanding of this phrase is : a special climat or area where the wines must achieve a set minimum alcohol among other requirements. You see a lot of this in Beaujolais for example.


What @JamesF and @Leah wrote is correct in general, but in the cases you referred to @MikeFranklin it seems that “Lieu-Dit” (or “Lieux-Dit Saint-Joseph” - labels brought up on Google images differ) is simply the name of the Guigal wine, and Ferraton has a wine called “Lieux-dit Saint-Joseph”. Ferraton also has a Saint-Joseph wine called “Lieu-dit Paradis” BTW. So I believe it is just branding rather anything official.

I checked, and no lieux dits are mentioned in the cahier des charges for Saint-Joseph AOC. However, it does say that in 1936 there was no Saint-Joseph AOC, and Saint-Joseph was then a Lieux-Dit - so back then you had wines labelled “Côtes du Rhônes Saint-Joseph”. Perhaps those Guigal and Ferraton wines refer back to earlier times?


I was led to believe similar - basically a named vineyard of noteable quality but possibly not classified eg Premier Cru


I think it just means a named area of land e.g. a particular vineyard, or sub-zone of a vineyard. It’s therefore normally a smaller area of land than an AC. Fairly similar to what would be labelled ‘single vineyard’ in other countries.

In most cases I don’t think there are any other legal requirements, e.g. in terms of alcohol levels, the wine will just have to comply with whatever the rules are for the larger AC in which the lieu dit is located. For example Guigal’s ‘La Mouline’ Cote-Rotie would just have to meet the requirements for Cote-Rotie in general, as far as I understand it.

I guess scrupulous producers would use them as a way of distinguishing different cuvees or quality levels, (and less scrupulous ones just as a marketing technique).


Okay, thanks all. I guess if I see Lieu dit followed by an actual AOC I can just ignore it as branding but otherwise it identifies and area or vineyard within the larger area but that is an ‘informal’ identification rather than an appellation thing?


Having listened to a Gonon webcast recently it would appear that Paradis and St. Joseph are distinct parcels within the appellation St. Joseph.


It’s in french, but I found the following decent looking explanation about lieu-dit St Joseph in particular. It has satellite pictures and things pointing out individual lieu-dits. But in summary, lieu dit St-Joseph was in the heart of the appellation before the AC was expanded into a much larger area. The lieu-dit is a mainly south-facing slope, and includes Guigal’s aforementioned cuvee plus Chapoutier’s ‘Granits’, and Gripa’s ‘Berceau’ cuvees.



OK, fair enough - they are geographical sub-zones. Sorry to mislead.

I had assumed that lieux dits were sufficiently important legal terms to be named in the AOC regs, but it seems that is not the case. I have just checked for Morgon for example, and no mention of Côte du Py.

Anyone know what sort of legal protection there is for lieux dits and climats? Where are they defined? Or are producers just trusted to be honest with such things?


Ah, just found the relevant bit for St Joseph, and there is similar wording for Morgon. The specific sub-zones are not mentioned, but they are “cadastré”. As I understand “cadastré”, it means that the names are recorded in an official government register that precisely defines the areas, but I may have that wrong too.

a) - L’étiquetage des vins bénéficiant de l’appellation d’origine contrôlée peut préciser le nom d’une unite géographique plus petite, sous réserve :

  • qu’il s’agisse d’un lieu-dit cadastré;
  • que celui-ci figure sur la déclaration de récolte.


I don’t know for sure. Dim recollection is that they don’t really have much legal status as such. But you can probably find a map that sets out the boundary, and in the more famous cases it will be fairly easy to establish who owns vines in a given plot.


Yes St Joseph is an individual vineyard area as well and the name chosen for the wider AOC. I think its in the village of Tournon. There’s also Paradis, Bonneveau and Les Oliviers. All in the Ferraton range.

Other producers have other named vineyards, Les Clos and Granit from Chapoutier and St Epine from Delas. All these are in the southern section of the St. joseph AOC around Tournon and Mauves. The link @Comtes86 gives is rather good if you translate.

Coursodon also have a Paradis and on this page below is a picture of Paradis, showing the type of sloped vineyard we’re talking about.



A cadastral map is the official record (delineation) of land ownership. Cadastral maps do not exist for England on account of our land ownership laws being more complicated. Not sure about Scotland.

I take it that the name of the holding is entered on the French cadastral maps - I’ve never seen the official thing for anywhere - otherwise the phrases outlined by @SteveSlatcher would make no sense.


Andrew Jefford recently wrote about the headache that is French ownership laws- albeit about Burgundy. Not for the faint hearted:



Thanks - love to learn bits like this !


The first few paras of that Jefford article clarify the issues of climats and lieux-dits quite nicely


Wow, and there was me thinking there would be a nice simple explanation :crazy_face::confounded::grinning: What a can of worms!


You should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself, for disrupting so many members Mondays!!:open_mouth::wink::smile:
But seriously, I thought that my knowledge was half decent, but I have learned so much from this discussion, if a “Post of the Day” award existed, and it was in my gift to hand out; then you would be the hopefully happy recipient. Well done Sir!!?


This isn’t entirely correct, but may vary from region to region. I’ll use Beaujolais again as an example and Chiroubles. The 2 special climats Les cotes and La Grosse Pierre MUST achieve a min alcohol level of 10.5% (Vs 10%) in order for their names to be listed on the labels. This is true for every other Beaujolais cru climats aswell.