Saturday, May 31, 2008

New wine

The government has just changed the wine laws to enable French wine makers to compete with other countries that decline to play by the old rules. If customers want wines flavoured by stirring oak chippings into the vats, so be it, but sell them under brand names and not as appellation controlée.

It's no secret that many Cahors vignerons are on the verge of bankruptcy. Several of them want to produce less tannic wines from the local auxerrois grapes (like the equivalent South American malbecs) to meet North American tastes and will use micro-oxygenation and other tricks to achieve this.

Others, notably Alain Dominique Perrin of Chateau Lagrezette (and Cartier), want to introduce a classification system, as in Bordeaux and other areas, to establish the true Cahors wines and enhance their reputation. This notion has failed to gain majority support, however.

Now there's a move to add black wine as a legal category to the existing red, white and rosé. Cahors is the only traditional source of black wine, which is red wine that is blackened by adding a boiled infusion of the skins. Watch out for Black Beauty brand.