(Sunday October 9th), in addition to buying The Sunday Express (to
catch my column), you should also be buying The Independent On
Why? Because it has a supplement titled Le Sunday Review, devoted to
all things French. In particular, there is a section called Cracking
Wine (pictured), in which 'some of the country's top wine journalists'
(and me) select their favourite French wines available in the UK
It's an exercise we
were asked to do for Sopexa, who ran the 'Absolutely cracking wines
from France' tasting in September. Each journo had to recommend three
wines (under £5.99, £6-£9.99, and £10 and over). It's a hard call
to pick just three. Reading through the choices, I get the strong
impression that France might just be on the up.
For a while now the
only stories we've been hearing about French wines have been gloomy.
France is losing market share, their wines are uncompetitive, and
producers have their heads in the sand, denying the mess they are in
and refusing to modernize.
But here we have a
selection of really interesting wines at all price points. While I'm
not suggesting that the French wine industry doesn't have real
problems, if France can do more of the same, then there's still some
hope. And if France ever really gets its act in gear, then the new
world producers are in for a hiding* - but we're a long way from that
wine in crisis
guess this needs some explanation. My comment here relates to the fact
that the classic European wine growing countries - such as France,
Spain, Italy and Portugal - have huge areas under vine, and a
wonderful diversity of growing regions and grape varieties. For
example, Sicily has almost as much area under vine as the whole of
Australia. If they could get their act together the potential for
making huge volumes of interesting wine is awesome.
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