Laboratory Wine vs. Blue Nun
"It cannot be that American artificial wine
ends up on the German market without the consumer recognizing it. The German quality wines will be
drowned by cheap laboratory wines because of this deal."
The German Farm minister who is dissing American winemakers here is doing so in the course of explaining his opposition to the tentative trade deal between the U.S. and EU. It’s nice to see that the French, with all their smug, condescending, self-assurance still have something to teach the rest of Europe.
What Herr Farm Minister Horst Seehofer is referring to when he speaks of our "artificial" and "laboratory" wines is the practice in some circles of using "oak chips" to get that oaky quality at a lower price and the use of adding water to higher alcohol wines. The Germans can’t do this, by law.
You’d think it would be enough for the good Farm Minister to simply ask that production practices between the EU and the U.S. be brought closer into agreement with each other. But that’s not quite enough. They feel that denigration is the way to go.
Let’s take a look at the Oak Chip issue, which I assume is the inspiration for his reference to American "artificial" and "laboratory"wines. Yet, it is true that putting oak chips into a vat of wine impart an oak flavor to the wine is a bit of an artificial approach to winemaking. After all, squished and fermented grapes do not come naturally with that smoky, vanilla aromas. Yet, when you get right down to it, I think we can all agree that aging a wine in a barrel made of oak imparts an artificial flavor also.
I can’t quite put my finger on the reason so many European leaders feel they need to denigrate American winemakers as they traverse the political landscape. I’m inclined to believe it’s some combination of desperation and transatlantic politics, combined with pandering to a culture and people that recently have come to despise "America" for our recent change in our diplomatic posture.
The French have made the arrogant dismissal of anything foreign an art. I’d have thought the Germans would have been more creative.