Whine, Wine, Wien
Jean-Claude Martinez, a politician and member of the extreme right wing French party National front from the south of France had this to say yesterday:
"We have been making wine since the Roman Empire, and not for a couple of hundred years like the Americans. Wine is a civilization, it is a fine art."
Fine art? Some of that dreg that his own constituents produce would suggest that stick figures qualify as "fine art" in the south of France.
Martinez was reacting to the provisional trade pact with Washington that, if enacted, would lead to an easing of restrictions on exporting wine to American and to the European Union.
The deal takes tentative steps to outlaw many European place-names on American wines. But it does more than that. The deal would recognize each region’s winemaking practices. In the case of American wines that means the allowance for small amounts of water to the wine as well as adding oak chips to wine to flavor it, rather than using the more expensive oak barrels to add that oak essence. In the case of France, that would mean we would have no problem with wines that have sugar added to them.
The Europeans don’t like this very much. They feel it puts them at a competitive disadvantage because their wine producing laws prohibit much of what we allow. So what do they do? Disparage Americans and American winemaking. I would expect that from a National Front politician. That brand of politicians is among the most retrograde on the continent…racist and xenophobic to their core.
But now we have to deal with German nincompoops (sp?) too.
Christa Klass, a leader of the European "People’s Party" and representative of the Mosel region in Germany also didn’t like that Americans could add oak chips and small amounts of water to wine:
"Water in wine is something which is unimaginable for us and unacceptable to our consumers We don’t need artificial wine.
Most of the European wine countries, and the French in particular, are getting their hats handed to them when it comes to sales of wines. I’m not sure they really should be the ones explaining what their consumers want. The Australians should probably do that for them.
Huge over at Huge Johnson’s World of Wine Blog has a good deal to say about this outburst by the European whiners. I suggest you read it. As always, Huge nails it.
If you are a wine drinker, this pact that is being worked out between the EU and America is of very little consequence. It won’t really change your access to wines nor will it lead to any real change in the quality of wines your are drinking, nor the price you are paying.