As part of the extensive work carried out on the Vin de Pays (VDP) system between 2007 and 2011, the du Jardin de la France title was changed to the simpler du Val de Loire. The IGP title – an EU-level equivalent of VDP – was introduced to France at roughly the same time. Although these multiple changes will lead to initial confusion, the intention is to make the wine labels easier to understand. (© Proprietary Content, Wine-Searcher.)
Wines made under these titles come from vineyards all over the 13 departments which make up the wider Loire region, each of which also has its own VDP title. This wide catchment area reaches from France's central Atlantic coast to the western fringes of Burgundy, 250 miles (402km) to the east. It encompasses wines ranging from sparkling Chenin Blanc to dry, rustic Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as landscapes as varied as the cool, wet Loire Estuary to the dense oak forests of Allier in the east.
The grape varieties permitted for use under this title are closely aligned with those used throughout the Loire region: Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Grolleau Gris and Melon for white wines, and Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gamay, Grolleau Noir, Pinot Noir and Malbec (locally named Cot) for the reds.
Although it is the largest IGP/VDP in terms of geographical coverage, Val de Loire–Jardin de France accounts for only a small percentage of France's total Vin de Pays output. In 2005, this figure came to 500,000 hectoliters – less than one-eighth of the volume produced under the prolific Vin de Pays d'Oc title.
French wine authorities have actively promoted the use of IGP, which acts as a legal statement of quality and origin throughout the eurozone. Wine producers retain the right to use either the IGP or VDP titles.