Saturday, July 11, 2009

Are we too ignorant for French wine?
Tracy Corrigan, writing in The Telegraph, July 10, wonders if the Brits have lost their appreciation for good food and wine.

Are Britons becoming too ignorant to eat and drink well? The latest research shows that most children are still refusing to eat school dinners, having gone off them after Jamie Oliver campaigned to make them healthier. And French wines have now slumped to fifth place in drinkers' affections, partly because of their price, but largely because of their complicated categorisation. My friend who knows about wine (I have only one) says that there are actually plenty of good, cheap French wines around: the fantastic vins de Pays d'Oc from the carignan grape, for example. But somehow that doesn't slip off the tongue quite as easily as "Jacob's Creek chardonnay".
Related Articles
French wine slips into fifth place with British drinkers
Australia's wine growers facing ruin unless the rains come
Wine ingredients including fish and charcoal should be listed on the bottle, say regulators
Most pupils 'shunning school dinners' after Jamie Oliver campaign
Electronic nose can pinpoint where wine was made
It's easy to blame French wine growers for their fall from grace: they were too caught up in internecine, inter-regional spats to worry about foreign competition. And they are fighting back, with clearer classifications and better marketing. In other words, they have wised up to the fact that they need to dumb down.
But I think it's still rather sad that the romance of grappling with different domaines and appellations seems to have lost its appeal. And that's not the only problem: New World and Italian wines are also more popular because they are what wine buffs call "drinkable", which is a polite way of saying they slip down as easily as Ribena.
Perhaps the Gallic vintners should hire Jamie Oliver as the fresh, affordable face of French wine. He didn't convince Britain's children, but shoppers at Sainsbury's – surely the target market – seem to like him. Personally, I find it incomprehensible that anyone would rather eat a Big Mac than Jamie's shepherd's pie. But then again, I have started to prefer prosecco to champagne.

No comments: