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Article tres interessant sur Wine Spectator Online

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Je peux vous conseiller la lecture de cet article ou je trouve que l auteur analyse tres justement la place de la France dans le monde du vin.

Cyrille
17 Sep 2002 13:23 #1

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Réponse de claudius sur le sujet Re: Article tres interessant sur Wine Spectator Online

"Does France Matter?"

No stranger to provocation, this one nevertheless rocked me. If it had appeared in the journal Foreign Affairs, I could understand. But how could a publication called Wine Spectator ask such a question? How could France not matter?

When asked the question "Does France have an image problem?" 53 percent of the respondents said yes. Various zingers were duly applied ("arrogance," "declining market share," etc.), but the giveaway was revealed by the follow-up question: "What's the biggest problem with French wine?"

A whacking 51 percent of the respondents pointed to "Price -- the good stuff costs a fortune." No other category -- such as availability (9 percent), labeling (8 percent) or even quality (15 percent) -- came close.

I don't get it. Once you strip away the glossy veneer of France's most famous wines -- Bordeaux's classified-growths, Burgundy's grands crus, Champagne's luxury cuvées -- French wines are amazingly well-priced.

Today, you can pick up all kinds of swell wines from Languedoc, Rhône, Loire, Alsace, even Burgundy for less than $20 or even $10 a bottle.

If high price is your issue, take the battering ram to California. There's probably no place on the planet today where you get less for your wine buck than you do with California. France is laden with wine bargains compared with California.

Here's the nub: What does it mean to matter? The notion centers only on the blockbuster mentality that if you don't have a best-seller or a Star Wars generating vast numbers, you're nothing.

But is that true for wine? Let's be blunt: If you're Australian, it's true. The Aussies know how to create wine brands better than anyone else. Blending is the Australian mantra. You want more fruit? No worries, mate. More oak? Ditto. You need it by the tanker load? No problem. Roughly three-quarters of all of Australia's vineyards are controlled by five companies.

No wine country anywhere is less concerned about sanctity of place than Australia. Bordeaux alone, in comparison, has some 20,000 producers.

I mention the Aussies because, at the moment, their wine-marketing model is currently seen as the model. Everyone has by now heard of Australia's impressive success in snatching the British market from French suppliers, to say nothing of America.

But France has something that none of these global gobblers offer: It still sets the standard. No wine country anywhere is more concerned about sanctity of place than France. That's what makes French wines great. It's why France matters. To borrow a line from those smirky bumper stickers, "French winemakers do it more originally."

What's more, France can beat even the Australian à¼ber-blenders at their own game, if they choose.

Take Côtes de Ventoux for example. This one Rhône appellation alone has some 17,500 acres of vines. And its wines can be terrific, especially when some Syrah is mixed in.

Then there's the vast Languedoc region. Quick, take a guess about the vineyard acreage of Languedoc. Try 736,000 acres. That's roughly twice either California's or Australia's wine-grape acreage.

Clearly, France can take on all comers. It's still the unbeaten champ at the high-end. No one makes better Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Blanc, dry Riesling, and yes, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. No country, not even Italy, has more expression of place than France.

So what's keeping France from creating low-priced blockbusters as well as it does high-priced ones? The problem -- quelle surprise -- is complacency. It's nothing new. Jane Kramer (no relation), writing 14 years ago about the French in her "Letter From Europe" in The New Yorker, put it as well as anybody ever has:

"People here have been so confident for so long, so accustomed to the idea of being sharper, smarter, deeper, more elegant, more eloquent, more discerning, and certainly more civilized than anybody else, that it has made them provincial, listening mainly to each other and in the end whistling in the dark against failure."

Does France matter? You bet it does. But does France know how to matter in today's markets? Ah, that's a different question.
17 Sep 2002 14:54 #2

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Autant le questionnaire original et les commentaires libres qui en ont ete fait me paraissaient hors propos, autant cet article reflete a peu pres ce que je pense du sujet.

Alors, les francais de ce site, y-a-t-il vraiment un probleme de complaisance ?

L'article n'a toutefois pas parle des organismes comme l'INAO, qui sont generalement sous les feux de la rampe lorsque l'on parle du combat des vins de bas prix mais bonne qualite.

Le debat est ouvert.

Salutations,
Anthony

Anthony
17 Sep 2002 19:21 #3

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