Friday, October 17, 2008

Don't Blame Me, I'm French

Was out with a group of Bordeaux winemakers the other night who were plugging their white wines. Once upon a time, white vines outnumbered red in the region, but today, they occupy less than 10% of the vineyards. A shame, and for two reasons. Firstly, there are several vineyards in Bordeaux producing undernourished red wines that would be far better off switching to whites. Secondly, the wines, based on Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, with a little help from the aromatic Muscadelle, can be excellent. The top wines such as Smith Haut Lafitte command prices similar to top white Burgundies, and are just as good, while at the cheaper end, wines such as Dourthe No 1 at around £6-7 bring a smile to your face in the way that simiularly priced reds seldom do.

I told the winemakers this, and they were very happy. But I then asked one of them what would make a customer pick a white Bordeaux off the shelf in preference to another style. 'Because as you have said, it is good.' No, you don't understand, what would make them pick white Bordeaux rather than other similarly priced wines of similar quality. 'Because it is very good.' Hmm - head, brick wall... But how do you get the message across that white Bordeaux is very good? 'That is your job...'

So in other words, if white Bordeaux sales are not what they could be in the UK, it is my fault. Nothing to do with the people who make it. It's my fault. Now I understand...

4 comments:

HamishWM said...

Arrogant, cheese eating surrender monkeys.

Simon said...

Remember once saying to a Bordeaux winemaker that the the French attitude (where wine is concerned) is that the customer is always wrong. Wish I could have bottled his incredulous face and sold it as salad dressing - sour and oily at the same time.

Vino Vangelist said...

Bordeaux wines have always had that certain je ne sais .....


Don't you agree?

Krista said...

During the student riots in Paris back in 2006, I was trapped at Gare du Nord for hours, trying to get back to London.

I finally got up to the ticket machine and I put my ticket in. (If you know these machines, they do this weird in/out/in/out thing and then pass your ticket back to you.)

My ticket didn't come out. I stood there thinking, "Oh my God. They're going to kill me. Even though I have no control over the machine, they are going to tell me it is all my fault!"

Within SECONDS, a Eurostar employee came storming up to me yelling in both French and English, "Stupid girl" What have you done! You have broken the machine and now no one can get on the train BECAUSE OF YOU! It is all your fault!"

Classic.

But I do love France. Really.