Grape or Location?

By | Category: Travel destinations

France has always been associated with wine. For a long time a sign of sophistication was seen by which wine you ordered. A Burgundy? A Bordeaux? Champagne? The common thing was that these wines were designated by the geography they came from.
Most wine is described by the grape variety. You don’t talk about a Napa Valley, a Barossa or a Veneto. A fortnight ago at the Vinexpo Wine Fare in Bordeaux this was discussed as a potential answer to the falling sales of French wine. With competition coming from so many countries, including England where Chalk Ridge Rose 2010 won the only gold in the still rose class at the International Wine Challenge for the Denbies vineyard in Dorking, French growers discussed whether wine should be identified as coming from a particular grape variety.
Given that considerable numbers of visitors from the UK go to France and part of many people’s holiday is a visit to a vineyard or two, how will this idea go down with us? Apparently we are one of the leading nations in opting to buy by grape variety rather than geography say Sopexa, a marketing arm of the French wine industry. But we still talk about enjoying a good burgundy. I don’t think, where France is concerned, this will bother us. Do the French think likewise? No, it seems, for the latest launch is broken down by geography still. The only cooperative winery of the Côte d’Or in Burgundy, La Cave des Hautes-Côtes are branding their wines as Nuiton-Beaunoy rather than the grape variety. At least as visitors we can look at a map and find the location as Côte d’Or.
As a final point for vineyard visitors to France, there are still some very cheap prices (cheap compared to what they have been in previous summer periods)on the ferries on the short routes across the channel. This is due to some new ferries coming into service and overcapacity as well. And that is during August. France may turn out to be one of the bargains of the summer.

image courtesy of Cave des Hautes-Côtes

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