Saturday 28 March 2009

Vive les Vignerons

"I would like people in Britain to realise what is at stake here" says Mr Tremoulet, whose family has been growing grapes in the Languedoc for generations, in a report by the BBC headlined "French Wine Withers on the Vine". He describes the situation for farmers as "catastrophic", as British drinkers turn away from French wines because of the strong Euro. The UK is the biggest importer of wine in the world and we are now, it seems, turning from Chablis to Chile, lured by supermarket "3 bottles for a tenner" offers. Here as in other areas, the old world is losing out to the new.
I'd like to reassure M. Tremoulet that I for one am doing my bit. A delicious crisp Alsace Riesling last night, a silky 2002 claret last weekend and my stocks of Duval-Leroy champagne are fast diminishing. No, I am not giving up French wine, credit crunch or no credit crunch. I remember "Johnny" Hugel, in the cellar in Riquewihr in which his family had produced wine from father to son since 1639, saying that if times were tough or you were feeling low, go to a good restaurant, order a lovely bottle of wine ("preferably one of mine"), and you would feel all the better afterwards. I'm not sure how economically sound his advice was, but I've followed it ever since and it works. M. Tremoulet, I'm doing my best!

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