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Those Arrogant Frogs

frogger.jpgI'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.

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud