On Thu, 13 Apr 2000, Michael S. Lorrey wrote:
> If someone in California makes wine that is indistinguishable from
> champagne to a panel of tasters in a double blind test, it is champagne,
> and they should be free to call it that. Accepting the claims of the
> French for 'cultural heritage', when that 'heritage' is nothing more
> than a desire to maintain their elite attitude as being the 'superior
> culture' of the planet is ludicrous.
When I was doing work for France Telecom, I learned some interesting
things about the French wine industry from a serious wine buff that was
in the U.S. on a visa from France Telecom Corporate.
According to him, if you have been drinking French wine bottled in the
last several years, there is a good chance that it was made with
California grapes anyway. Apparently several years of declining domestic
quality have forced some of the producers, including some fairly well
regarded ones, to buy product from the growing number of U.S. producers to
maintain the product quality of what they put their labels on. His advice
was that, except for a few exceptional French producers, you are better
off buying California wine in the U.S. Right now, French wine is generally
inferior to its California equivalent or California wine with a French
label, so it is difficult to justify purchasing French wine in the U.S.
for the most part. In general my experience agrees with this.
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