France revamps wine labels to rival New World

In a move that has delighted some, and enraged others, the French government will allow wineries to use the designation “Vignobles de France” to denote wine that can originate from anywhere in the country, that can contain/ be blended with any grape. A couple of the reasons for this change are the decline in wine drinking in France, from 26½ gallons per person in 1970 to now only 14½ gallons per year, and the increased competition from around the world.

This is a timely move, considering America is on target to supercede France as the world’s largest wine consumer by 2010.

Supporters say the move will make French wine easier to understand, help winemakers adapt their products to different consumer tastes, and win back customers in countries where French wines have lost out to competition.

Wine producers in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in southern France, which produces Vins de Pays d’Oc, are furious. After a series of crises in their region, they have adapted their products for exports markets including developing “vins de cepage,” or wine that is labeled according to the grape.

The Languedoc region is now the largest exporter of French wine, ahead of the more prestigious Bordeaux region, and is the fourth world exporter of vins de cepage after Australia, Chile and the United States.

“The ‘vignobles de France’ will have the consequence of destroying the quality revolution that has taken place over 20 years in our region,” said Jacques Gravegeal, the president of the Union of Producers of Vin de pays d’Oc.

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WBW#30 Announced: New World Syrah

As my readers are probably aware, I’ve missed 6 or 7 Wine Blogging Wednesday’s since June, so it’s only fitting that the host that started my absence, Tim at Winecast, is the host again as I mark my return.

This is actually a great theme, one that Tim and I seem to see eye to eye on. Rhone wines are amazing, and the New World versions of these wines pay their respects, while offering their own slant on the unique French versions. If you love Syrah or Shiraz, this is a great time to pick up a bottle to enjoy during a cold night. In fact, If any of you dear readers would like to contribute, but don’t have a blog, just put your comments in my WBW#30 Syrah post on February 7th, or email me and we’ll include you in the round-up (the more the merrier!).

For more on: Syrah, visit Wikipedia, WBW visit

The WBW#30 announcement is here

The lone wolf: A conversation with wine critic Robert Parker

Although this article is quite long, I recommend you bookmark it and consume it in small doses, it is well worth the read. The interviewer asks some questions that many have already heard the answers to, but Parker seems to give more; details, emotion, some little known facts.

For the world’s most influential wine writer, who is now nearing 60, his stint in the business has now left him reflecting on the choices he’s made in his life, without many regrets. The man has touched the lives of millions, for good and bad. Whether it’s the winemaker who cry’s when he hears the praise his wine is about to receive, keeping his fledgling business afloat, or the deep pocketed wineries that take him to court, Parker has seen it all, and always stays true to his mission.

Read [Naples]

Guess who has a Wine Spectator Blog?

Caduceus Winery Owner MJKNo it isn’t me, but Caduceus Winery owner Maynard Keenan James, pictured here. It looks like his entries started popping up at the end of last year. This is a smart way for Wine Spectator to include the famous tool front man’s unique take on the wine industry, all the while luring his wine loving faithful into a full subscription. (Not that that is necessarily a bad thing.) Or you can do what I do and just use Google. Click here, then click the very top link.

More from Maynard Keenan:
Finally Seeing Florence (12/29/06)
Not Missing the Boat in Venice 01/02/07)
If You Are What You Eat …(01/05/07)

Winexpression’s earlier piece on Maynard can be found here.