Alsace: Great Wines, Backward Thinking

I had to read this news headline twice just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming: “Alsace wins right to drop grape names.” Say what?

While it seems like a majority of French winegrowers have been arguing for some time now that being able to put the varietal name on their bottles will help French wines compete in the global marketplace, apparently the growers of Alsace (which is the only place in France where this practice has been legal for some time) have been lobbying for the exact opposite!

Just when you thought we were turning a corner in the revision of those ridiculous appellation rules, something like this happens.

As best I can understand it, somehow many of these growers, including Marcel Deiss, whose wine I have reviewed here on Vinography, feel like somehow the use of the varietal name instead of the vineyard name cheapens the wine, or at least doesn’t get it the same street cred as its Bordeaux brethren.

I’m hard pressed to figure this out, but thankfully this seems to be a ruling on what vintners may do voluntarily, rather than being a new regulation for the appellation. Either way though, I’m still scratching my head.

Read the full press release here.