France to Winery: “You’re Third Rate”

Can you imagine the Federal Govt. or a state government in the United States refering to a winery as "Third Rate"?

This is the job of wine critics, isn’t it? Yet it France it appears that such character assassination is the purview of government.

The French want to put a six lane highway and a TGV line through Bordeaux to make the trip from Spain to Northern France quicker. However, in doing so they are going to have to go through some pretty nice vineyard land. They considering a route that jets through either the Haut-Medoc region or through Margaux.

If the new roads go through Haut-Medoc it will apparently lead to the destruction of Chateau Cantemerle. As you might imagine this doesn’t make the owners all that happy. Yet, according to a story in the First Post, the response of the government is the following:

"the French government dismisses it, and other affected properties, as "third-rate", and thus not worth preserving."


Chateau Cantemerle has a history that dates back to the Middle Ages. It is a Fifth Growth Grand Cru Classe estate. Yet, it is "third rate" and not worth preserving.


If this comment were made by a government official in California they would be condemned, tossed into the fires then sued. Though I’ve spent a good deal of time in France, spent a lot of time around French folk, and even married one some time ago, I still don’t understand how this kind of comment could be uttered by a French Govt. official…even if the wine was third rate.

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