Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Favorite French Whine

The old wine can't be put in newly labeled bottles, says a French court:

Châteaux producing Saint Emilion wines in the Bordeaux region have been banned from giving their bottles the coveted "grand crus classé" label, which enable them to charge significantly higher prices.

....Founded in 1954, Saint Emilion's classed grands crus are re-judged every10 years by a jury of brokers, merchants, oenologists and a wine professor.

They conduct blind wine-tastings of vintages from the previous decade, but also judge a range of other criteria, such as terroir - quality of the soil - the blend of the grapes, bottling conditions and price.

Early this year, a new list of top wines for 2006 to 2016 was released and the number had shrunk from 68 to 61 "grands crus classés".

....Saint Emilion is the second wine area in Bordeaux to be hit by such a suspension in weeks. Last month, the first official classification of "crus bourgeois" in Médoc was also cancelled in court.

....The move was intended to reassure drinkers attracted by cheaper New World wines that the premium charged by French wines was backed up by stringent quality control. Châteaux bearing the new official label sold their wines for roughly a third more than declassified rivals.

....But the rulings mean that two of the Bordeaux five classed groups - designed to help wine lovers choose from among the region's bewildering 57 Appelations d'Origine Contrôlée - are currently nul and void.

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