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Chablis: A little name-calling with the French

Champaagne3      

       In one of my first wine columns for The Herald, on April 11, 1991, I wrote: “Check the wine list in a cheap restaurant. If it identifies its wines only as ‘Chablis, Burgundy and Blush,’ you can bet that the "Chablis" isn't from Chablis, the "Burgundy" isn't from Burgundy and the "Blush" has every reason to.

       The French Chablis Producer’s Association was in town then, incensed that American wineries were putting out some of their cheapest wines, gallon jug stuff, under names stolen from some of France’s best wine regions.

       Real Chablis comes only from the area east of Paris called Chablis. Same with Burgundy. Same, for that matter, with Champagne.

       Seventeen years later, too little has changed. More than half the wine labeled champagne isn’t really champagne.

       Still trying to fight the mislabeling, the French-backed Office of Champagne in Washington, along with the Center for Wine Origins, is distributing a national public opinion poll that said 63 percent of Americans agree there should be a law to stop the mislabeling.

       For more on the study, go to www.wineorigins.com and click on “newsroom.”

       This time the French are right. How would you like it if somebody poured you a glass of cheap plonk from who-knows-where labeled “Napa Valley?”

(Photo by Patrick Farrell, Herald Staff)

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