There’s big news today. French winemakers are being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st Century.
As you know, wines from California, Australia, Chile and so on have always had the name of the grape on the label. If it’s a merlot, the label says merlot. And so on.
In good old conservative France, not so. If a wine was made in the Burgundy region, its label said only “Burgundy.”
You were just supposed to know that the only red grape permitted in that area was pinot noir, and the only white grape was chardonnay. If you didn’t know, too bad.
But now, with its wine sales waning, France is loosening up. Under the new rules, French wines, even the top ones, may:
List the grapes on the label.
· Blend grapes from every part of the country into a single wine.
· Grow any grape in any part of the country. So you might see a gewürztraminer grown in Burgundy. You may have to be French to understand what a really big deal this is.
· Use pictures of cute little animals on the labels. Soon you may see a French wine label with a picture of that cute little skunk, Pepe le Phew.
Photo of French pickers by the Associated Press