Despite everything, France is still the homeland of glorious wine | Wine

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Marius by Michel Chapoutier Vermentino, IGP Pays d’Oc, France 2019 (£ 8.99, Hay Wines). The French beverage industry has not had an easy time over the past year. Well join the club, you might say. But beyond the effects of the pandemic, French winegrowers have had to face a trade war between Europe and the United States for subsidies to the aerospace industry. The United States – the largest export market for French wines and spirits – has imposed tariffs of 25% on French wines. At the end of 2020, France had lost 2 billion euros in exports of wines and spirits (a little less than 13%) compared to 2019. If, like me, you want to help rebalance this particular deficit at home, you could do worse than start with this dry grapefruit and citrus white from the Languedoc project by Rhône expert Michel Chapoutier. Marius by Michel Chapoutier Vermentino, IGP Pays d’Oc, France 2019 (from £ 8.99, bcfw.co.uk; thewinereserve.co.uk; haywines.co.uk; flagshipwines.co.uk).

Chateau Greysac, Medoc, Bordeaux, France 2015 (£ 12.50, Justerini). In a year of economic crisis, it will not be surprising that the two French regions most strongly associated with luxury and chic living are among those which have seen their sales suffer the most. Champagne had a particularly bad year 2020, with exports down 20% in value, while Bordeaux lost 13.9%. As a commodity whose fortunes have always been closely tied to the fortunes of the global economic mood, champagne will undoubtedly bounce back when (not if, no, no, not if) all that pent-up party energy is released to the world. opening of an immune world. this summer. Bordeaux, meanwhile, is hoping, as always, for positive coverage of its latest vintage, 2020, which will be presented to merchants and the press around the world over the next month. Attention at these times is generally diverted by the few dozen of the most prestigious castles in the region. But for an affordable dose of mature Bordeaux luxury from a well-regarded recent vintage, the succulent red of Château Greysac is right on target.

Domaine des Côtes de la Roche, Saint-Amour, Beaujolais, France 2018 (£ 11.50, The Wine Society). The headlines on the decline and fall of French wine have been a sporadic feature of my 20 or so years of wine writing. But despite everything the country has struggled to establish viable competitors for big New World brands, the past two decades have actually been a golden age of quality across the country. Only Italy offers something close to the diversity of France’s distinct regional traditions: today you can find superb wine, made by dedicated and talented winemakers, all over the vast French vineyard. Examples abound, but Beaujolais is a microcosm of how French wine evolved for the better in the late 20th and 21st centuries. A region that had become linked to a model of overproduced and inferior wines to a captive market, is now filled with interesting bottles that have hit a real sweet spot in the £ 10 to £ 20 range, like Domaine des Côtes de the rock. fresh red with dark cherry berries.

Follow David Williams on Twitter @Daveydaibach



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