My F&W
quick save (...)
News

Don't Mess with those Belgians!

default-image

The weird wine highlight of this morning has to be this just-released video of Belgian customs officials using some sort of giant metal mechanical claw to destroy 3,200 bottles of André sparkling wine—or, as wine-giant Gallo prefers to label it, André California Champagne (you can download the wmv file here). Man, those pesky E.U. laws protecting names of origin (e.g., anything labeled Champagne has to come from Champagne in France; laws of this sort have been the center of some very thorny trade disputes between the U.S. and the E.U., though a sort of agreement was reached in 2005)! Break one, and you get smashed to bits by a 1,000 pound robotic claw! The video was ever so generously provided to the media by the Office of Champagne, USA, which is the lobbying arm of the Comité Interprofessional du Vin de Champagne, which would be the trade organization of France's Champagne region. Hm. No big surprise there.

Personally, I'm in favor of such laws; Napa Valley Cabernet should in fact come from Napa Valley, not, say, China; anything labeled Champagne ought to come from, well, Champagne. Otherwise, call it sparkling wine. On the other hand, the Champenoise are sort of stuck—just as Kleenex and Xerox have found, once the culture at large accepts your brand name (which the word Champagne might as well be) as the generic term for something, it's very hard to reverse the tide. Even if they get André and Korbel to give up using the word Champagne on their labels, people are still going to call any wine with bubbles Champagne. 

Anyway. What I'd really like to see would be the Belgians destroying 3,200 bottles of André because the stuff is just plain awful. But I suspect that will be a long time coming. 

You Might Also Like powered by sheknows
advertisement
The Dish
Receive delicious recipes and smart wine advice 4x per week in this e-newsletter.
The Wine List Weekly pairing plus best bottles to buy.
F&W Daily One sensational dish served fresh every day.
American Express Publishing ("AEP") may use your email address to send you account updates and offers that may interest you. To learn more about the ways we may use your email address and about your privacy choices, read the AEP Privacy Statement.
How we use your email address
advertisement
Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

Already looking forward to next year (June 19-21, 2015)? Relive your favorite moments from the culinary world's most sensational weekend in the Rocky Mountains.