Saturday, September 23, 2006

French Winemakers get their act together

For most of my wine drinking 'career' I have ignored French wine because I had no idea how to relate "Bordeaux" or "Burgundy" or any other name into a grape variety that I knew.

In other words, by drinking too much new-world wine, my (minimal) knowledge of wine was in terms of "Shiraz" or "Merlot" and not in terms of French regions. It appears that the winemakers of Burgundy have woken up to this problem. In today's Guardian magazine*, there was an advert which appears to have had the sole purpose of informing the newspaper's readers that White Burgundy is Chardonnay and that (Red) Burgundy is Pinot Noir. Simple and effective. I can't think why they hadn't done it before.

 

* Yes, yes... I know.  Reading the Guardian could be considered an utterly bizarre thing for someone with my economic beliefs to do. However, I figure that my purchasing one of a shop's limited supply of papers means that I may have deprived somebody else of the opportunity to be unduly influenced by it. I also believe it is healthy to read opinions with which you disagree.   (And yes....  my purchasing of it may have the perverse effect of encouraging the publisher to print more but I'll take the risk that this second-order effect is negligible :-)   )

5 comments:

Jon Deane said...

Since it's been a long time since the Guardian had anything like a consistent economic standpoint, I think it's perfectly suited to you :p

Adrian Spender said...

Simple, effective, but of course not necessarily true.

Apologies if this is teaching you to suck eggs, but a regional wine (Burgundy, Chablis etc.) can be made up of various grape varieties, as long as they all come from the same area. The theory being that the soil, climate and so on have an important effect on the wine. French wines deemed to be representative of their region will be identifed with a suitable Appellation.

Conversely, varietal wines are predominantly made up from a single grape variety (Chardonnay, Shiraz etc) which may have been grown in a number of places. The minimum percentage of the predominent grape varies from country to country but is normally about 85%

From what I've read, a growing number of French wines are now displaying the grape(s) they contain in addition to the region in an attempt to regain some ground in the fight against new world wines.

Richard Brown said...

Since it's been a long time since the Guardian had anything like a consistent economic standpoint, I think it's perfectly suited to you :p

I wouldn't know what you mean!

wines are now displaying the grape(s) they contain in addition to the region in an attempt to regain some ground in the fight against new world wines.

Thanks for the explanation, Adrian - I really am quite ignorant about French wines. As for the labelling, I thought there was an obscure rule that prevented French growers from naming the grape on their labels? (Hence the need for the ads). Perhaps I misunderstood though

Ben said...

I wouldn't know what you mean!

Is that why you have to ask your newsagent to give you an Independent carrier bag?

Richard Brown said...

I asked for a "carrier bag", not an "Independent carrier bag".

I felt it churlish to refuse it once offered :-)