I'm not sure to whether to file the latest news from France under Tragically Hip or It's About Damn Time. As large chunks of the French wine industry are crumbling away, there are signs that some things are changing.
Forever locked into labeling wines first and foremost with place names for reasons of national pride, tradition, legal requirements, and a sense of propriety, the French now seem to be relaxing their death grip on the ways of old. New appellation groupings are being created with understandable names like The South of France to make some wines more accessible to those consumers who might not know how to navigate "Savennieres-Roche Aux Moines."
The latest news is even better, however, as some French winemakers (albeit at the low end of the spectrum) are actually resorting to things that five years ago no Frenchman in his right mind would have agreed to: putting cute animals on the wine label.
Yes, that's right. The French have gotten into the critter wine label business.
Not only that, but they've apparently even started coming up with interesting names for their wines. Two of the latest: Elephant on a Tightrope, and Arrogant Frog. Heck, that last one even seems like it has a sense of humor. But that may just be a hasty judgment on my part. Certainly that name in particular is "shocking" winery owners all over France.
All kidding aside, I think this is a great step, and one, if adopted by more producers, can begin to help the low end of the wine market in France which is really in dire straits.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
The Superb Grace of Old Vines: Drinking Janasse The Zinfandel Experience: January 31, San Francisco Vinography Unboxed: Week of January 4, 2015 Vinography Images: The Colors of a New Season Vinography Unboxed: Week of December 27th, 2014 Vinography Images: Rich Skies Losing a Legend in Serge Hochar Flirting with the Ecstatic: The Wines of Nikolaihof, Austria Vinography Unboxed: Week of December 20, 2014 A Grape By Any Other Name
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune