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The Standard Deviant
QUOTE
A shadowy group in France has issued the French government with an unusual ultimatum: raise the price of wine or blood will flow.


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6759953.stm
traineraz
I never knew there was a first chapter.

Strange. Wine grapes are the most important cash crop in Oregon, yet plenty of cheap wine is available here. People still ditch other crops -- cherries, for one -- to plant more vineyards.

Wonder why the French do so poorly?
The Standard Deviant
Previous chapters have included blowing up tankers carrying wine.

Click to view attachment

Sour grapes?
pierreverte
Click to view attachment
photo from summer 2006 of some of their 'tags' on an informational wine route sign near a family friend's vineyard in the south (Minervois)...
he can't sell his wine either, but won't accept others investing in and/or modifying his work for his own good or owning a part of his property to help him cope. i guess i should wonder if he is under one of those masks?
so what does he do when he can't sell his wine? plant more vines!!
he will most likely sell his wine to a local coop and have them blend it into one wine...too bad, but it is mostly the French themselves (the big supermarket chains) that are crushing them...
these people are farmers, whereas the average Californian winemaker has already made his fortune doing something else and is now just playing with it for better or worse...
absinthist
In comparison French wines are wines, California "wines" are "wines".

I see pierreverte's point. Yesterday I went to TESCO and many of the cheapest wines were of French origin and were a mixture of various cepages with "selected by TESCO" on the label, not counting they weren't corked, either but with a screw cap instead shock.gif

Tradition must be preserved and maintained.
pierreverte
>Tradition must be preserved and maintained.

unfortunately, in most cases today, this can only be done by the rich or the suicidally stubborn...
absinthist
Hopefully, everything will be just fine as much as I adore French wine abs-cheers.gif
The Standard Deviant
If I recall correctly, in The Good Old Days the normal people of France would drink whatever wine came from their own region, probably never having anything to compare it to. These days, wine has a national and international market and the locals know if their local table wine producer is making absolute rubbish.
pierreverte
um, no, most french only know the wine from their region (even other regions of france are considered 'foreign' to some)...that is why they can't understand why they can't sell their wine, as they don't know what to compare it to. i often hear from the french 'did you know they make wine like champagne in the USA?' and 'the germans make wine? - i thought they only drank/made beer!'
the ignorance of the french of wine producers outside of france is stunning, but they are now finally opening their eyes...for the french, wine is food! so if you can be fed by locals, why search elsewhere?
Donnie Darko
I wonder if this problem is exclusively French or if it applies to Italy as well. As far as I can tell Italian wine regions tend to be as insular as the French ones, but as far as I know they are not under any pressure to blend their product or go out of business. Do the Italians have the same price controls on their wine as the French? My favourite reds are mostly Italian, but they are also exponentially more expensive (good Piedmont Monferrato and Tuscan Montalcino for example), so perhaps the Italians aren't feeling the pressure as much?
traineraz
What I'm hearing is that many low-end French winemakers don't know or bother to learn about the international market, produce a mediocre (at best) product, yet expect people to pay the high prices the vintners have been accustomed to for a local mediocre product when better-quality product is readily and inexpensively available.

This, then, is why Oregonians are cutting down cherry orchards to plant vineyards because quality wine is so profitable, while French hacks, incorrectly assuming their product's superiority, are failing miserably, going bankrupt, and threatening violence because they can't get their own acts together.

Am I understanding correctly?

Incidentally, two-buck Chuck (Charles Shaw wine, $2-3/bottle retail, and it's even corked not screw-capped) is still readily available at any Trader Joe's. For some reason, the $20-30 bottles from other California or Oregon vineyards are still selling.
Le Gimp
I understand it is also a problem with low prices paid by middlemen to the vintners while they have very high mark-ups, combined with low import cost of wines from countries like Spain that are impacting the french wine industry.
absinthist
"In a recorded message delivered to a regional television station, CRAV told the new president that in addition to more money, it wants Europe to continue a subsidy for distilling surplus wine into alcohol spirit. CRAV also called on fellow winemakers to unite. The activists make reference to a 1907 winemakers' uprising in Montpellier when army troops opened fire on thousands of demonstrators, killing six people."

"Many feel that French wine does not receive enough protection on the home market, and are angry about rising imports from Spain and Italy, where lower social charges and less red tape enable producers to sell their goods more cheaply. There are rumours that other European producers are fraudulently mixing Italian or Spanish wines with South American fare, even slapping a "Made in France" label on such mixes once they cross the border."

"Although no vintner will admit being a member of Crav, the group's links with the region's wine-growers' unions is an open secret. "The Crav is the armed wing of unionism in the Languedoc," said Mr Vergnes. One of the network's senior members confirmed that it had "hundreds" of sleeper cells around Languedoc. Local units in four departments carry out low-level attacks, while regional commandos unite for "tougher" operations involving explosives."

After reading all this, it looks very, very serious.
Le Gimp
The destruction of the Spanish wine truck was 2005.

The hot-headed winemakers of Languedoc-Roussillon are making interesting wines

Donnie Darko
QUOTE(absinthist @ Jun 21 2007, 05:27 PM) *

where lower social charges and less red tape enable producers to sell their goods more cheaply.


It's ironic they're bitching to Sarkozy about that, because I was under the impression he wanted to reduce social charges and red tape, thus making it easier for French businesses (winemakers included) to compete.
Typical "revolutionaries".
absinthist
I have just analyzed the prices of wines here in Poland (per a bottle of a decent one): Australia- up to $5, Chile-up to $10, Spain- up to $3, Italy and Hungary- up to $5, and finally France- up to $10 ($6 on average) and those that are the most often bought are Spanish, Italian, Hungarian and French (in that order).
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(Le Gimp @ Jun 21 2007, 05:43 PM) *


Guess where Pernod Fils got their wine base, and where Jade presumably gets its wine base? According to PF advertising flyers at the time, it was Languedoc-Roussillon.

Based on the two wines I've had from that region there's nothing wrong with millions of liters of the stuff being distilled into wine spirit, etc, which was incidentally what happened to plenty of wine from that region 100 years ago. Languedoc-Rousillon wines are not all that common on shelves here mainly because they're not all that special and thus there isn't a big demand for them. Most restaurants I've been to with comprehensive wine lists rarely offer a single Languedoc wine. They're not all that bad, they're better than plenty of the piss made in the US, but there's a reason people prefer Bordeaux and it isn't because of some of Spanish/Italian price slashing cabal.

However, it sounds from that article Gimp posted that select vintners are indeed making very good wines there now, so perhaps that will help and will increase demand. Subsidies and bombs will not.
Donnie Darko
I decided to look up some Robert Parker reviews of a few Languedoc-Rousillon wines and it does appear there are a few outstanding ones. The Helyos Banyuls 2002 and the Rene Rostaing Puech Chaud 2003 scored pretty high, and he's one of the more critical reviewers out there. Those were the only two that I could find that even merited a rating, however. Most of them available at good wine stores here had no comment or were enthusiastically described as "a real bargain" or "grapey". Yeah, those are the wines I want! evill.gif
pierreverte
two-buck Chuck sux
might have been good the first 6 months but now they throw anything in a bottle with that label 'cause it sells...brilliant!

you can't spell Bordeaux without 'bord', yawn...
Burgundy (red for the most part) is the greatest overpriced scam on the wine world, besides Champagne...

France still makes great wines, but most never leave their regions...



Donnie Darko
Vive la revolucion! Liberté, egalité, fraternité, terrorisme!
sixela
QUOTE(pierreverte @ Jun 22 2007, 12:40 AM) *

Burgundy (red for the most part) is the greatest overpriced scam on the wine world, besides Champagne...

Not if you go and get it there, though. The problem, at least here in Belgium, is that many of the small producers go through a middle man who wants quite a margin.

I think Bordeaux has become the overpriced scam - and with many wines tailored to American tastes to boot (because the scale of production is large, they're starting to be run as businesses with an eye for exporting a bit too much for my taste).
sixela
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Jun 21 2007, 10:58 PM) *

Based on the two wines I've had from that region there's nothing wrong with millions of liters of the stuff being distilled into wine spirit, etc,


Not all of it is so bland, though - some of the relatively new appelations like Faugeres have a couple of producers producing excellent wines rivalling good Sint-Emilions.

But I bet they're not the ones having problems - the ones who make undifferentiated wines that anyone in the world can make are.

BTW, if you want another good wine from a region that isn't associated always with quality wine, try Château Romarin (Baume de Provence) or even their "Chapelle" second wine. Even used to have a web shop, but I can't find it anymore.

Anyway, if they want to sell and cut out the middle man, there's always the web shop, instead of bitching to the president - even Hungarian Tokaj producers have understood that.

Of course, you do need quality wine for that...

[For an example of a beautiful site, albeit from another region, see e.g. http://www.chateau-larose-trintaudon.fr/ ]
absinthist
If I prefer Cotes du Rhone over others, I have drunk one of the worst Bordeaux ever: Prestige A.O.C. selectionne par Georges Desniuts 2004 (12% vol) if it was not that overpriced, though.

The most reliable are surprisingly Spanish wines: for the price they ask, it is usually D.O., decent alcohol content: at least 13% vol and reservas from 1997-1999 and I have never been disappointed with.

On the other hand, it is very difficult to get genuine Hungarian wine for a decent price and content in one. Many are counterfeited by some Polish companies (they have started that alredy in the 80's) and taste watery and without character.
sixela
QUOTE(absinthist @ Jun 22 2007, 01:48 PM) *

On the other hand, it is very difficult to get genuine Hungarian wine for a decent price and content in one.


Don't think so. Wines in Eger (except the Thummerers) are quite OK for their price, even the Sanz Andrea (who makes one of the less bland Egri Bikaver) and Gal Tibor ones, and they can be pretty decent. Even smaller producers in Tokaj produce pretty good fare even though you have to pick and choose.

Unfortunately, the reds are slowly falling prey to the fashion for barrique wines and wines that are extremely rich in taste after a few years but don't age well, which is particularly sad for the Pinot Noir wines. Ah well...

sixela
QUOTE(absinthist @ Jun 22 2007, 01:48 PM) *

at least 13% vol


I don't drink wine to Trip Ballz™, and I think a lot of alcohol is a very cheap way of making a wine taste fuller but may cloud the more subtle flavouring. To each his taste, but I don't judge wines by their alcohol titrage.
absinthist
I mean getting them here in Poland, obviously in Hungary, there are not such problems neither with quality or availability.

Spanish wines lower than 13% vol do not taste so full, at least to me, of course, hence the requirement, low-alcohol wines are palatable as well, like Greek Imiglykos which is just 11% vol, still absolutely amazing and full of flavours.

I agree about Pinot Noir, Vallee d'Aoste D.O.C. 2005 I have had some time ago was very light not only on alcohol, but the structure as well and definitely it was lacking much flavour.

Being by alcohol content, Rieslings Spatlese, Auslese, any QmP's are very, very light on it (the strongest I have had was a mere 11% vol) still their slighly sweetish edge helps other very fruity, spicy flavours to explode with full force in the glass.
traineraz
QUOTE(pierreverte @ Jun 21 2007, 03:40 PM) *

two-buck Chuck sux
might have been good the first 6 months but now they throw anything in a bottle with that label 'cause it sells...brilliant!

Whether it sux or not isn't the question. It sells, it sells cheap, and yet plenty of far more expensive wines sell equally well.
sixela
QUOTE(absinthist @ Jun 22 2007, 04:00 PM) *

I agree about Pinot Noir, Vallee d'Aoste D.O.C. 2005 I have had some time ago was very light not only on alcohol, but the structure as well and definitely it was lacking much flavour.


We don't agree. I hate Pinot Noir wine that develops too early (and certainly when it's also got a barrique taste crushing everything).

I like Pinot Noir wine that takes years to develop - I wouldn't dream of opening most of my red Bourgognes with lots of Pinot Noir before they're five years old.
Donnie Darko
Clearly you have never tried a certain California Pinot Noir called "Sea Smoke". I highly recommend ordering a 2005 bottle or a case if you can find it. I'd say it's one of the best Pinots out there, the one from 2004 was damn near perfect.
tabreaux
The solution to unsold wine:

Click to view attachment

absinthist
85% vol sounds familiar...
louched liver
Your intelligence
percentile?
absinthist
Wrong! I meant the percentage of macerates.
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