Tag Archives: Philippe Gimel

Reading a Bottle of Wine

Philip Reddaway
Philip Reddaway

The French attitude to labelling wine strikes me as absurdly blinkered. Faced with continued domestic over-supply, dynamic New World competition and a government determined to control what they see as an unhealthy beverage, one might have thought the industry would have got the bit they can control (it’s just sticking the right info on the bottle, after all) done to perfection. Not so. Lavishly, they adhere to tradition. By law AOC (Appellation d’Origin Controlée) wines can’t mention the name of the grape variety the wine is made from on the front label. Instead, with the noble exception of the Alsace region (not really very French) you need to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of French geography and viticulture to know, for example, that when it says Pouilly Fumé on the label it’s Sauvignon blanc, when Pouilly Fuisse it’s Chardonnay.
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