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View Full Version : Wine international : France vs. USA



Hedmans Brorsa
05-25-2006, 04:01
I am certainly no wine expert but I find this article to be of big interest, nonetheless.

A wine competition between France and the US, with a surprising outcome.

"I donīt know if I will be able to go back to France...they will kill me", commented a Frenchman, who acted as judge at the competition. :grin:

read more here : http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/5013910.stm

TNbourbon
05-25-2006, 05:53
The Wall Street Journal recently ran a story (not available without online subscription) about this attempt to recreate the original 1976 American wine victory, but most of the wineries which took place in the earlier one wouldn't participate, for various reasons. In many cases, Americans didn't want to risk a reverse, and the French didn't want to be reminded. And, in the case of the winning California Chardonnay in 1976, the winemaker and vineyard owner have parted ways and partaken in an extended feud.
So, the recent event appears to be more commemoration that recreation.

CrispyCritter
05-26-2006, 22:35
It would be interesting to see how American brandies fared vs. Cognac and Armagnac.

mythrenegade
05-27-2006, 00:31
Stag's Leap was the huge benefactor of the 1976 event. They are one of _the_ premier US wineries as a result. My wife and I opened a bottle of 1992 Stag's Leap Fay for Valentine's day this year. Very, very, very nice bottle of wine. Unfortunately I can't bring myself to spend the $100+ to replace it...

France has problems that are mostly related to their arrogance. California started the trend of identifying the grape that was in the bottle. So when you go the store and buy a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, you can thank the US wine industry. Ever notice that French wines aren't sold that way? That's because they have laws PROHIBITING the wineries from identifying what is in the bottle. You, the wine buyer, are supposed to know the difference between all the different chateau this and that, and what regions are known for what varietal etc. This makes wine completely incomprehensible to the newcomer. Buying wines from the rest of the world allows you to figure out what grape you like and then find wineries that you like that produce that grape. Hence, French wine sales continue to decline, the rest of the world continues to increase production.

After the 1976 competition, the world wised up to the fact that the best wines weren't NECESSARILY from France (that doesn't mean there aren't some of the best wines in the world in france, there are), and therefore they started to buy wines from other countries such as the US. This, in turn, resulted in a huge increase in production in California, as well as a tremendous increase in quality. I can buy wines for $10-$20 per bottle from California that are simply fantastic. With a little aging, they become even more amazing. There are several wines that are available here that I don't believe can be topped at any price.

The low end market has moved on from California to Australia and Chile. With the notable exception of "two buck chuck" most of the california wines have begun to move upmarket. Products like two buck chuck exist to get rid of excess grape without taking a loss. Essentially 2BC is a way for all the wineries of california to get rid of their excess and make a profit of $1 per case (12 bottles) on those grapes. Beats destroying vineyards, as was referenced in the article above.

Personally I only drink California wines. I do this for a few reasons. (1) They are among the best in the world. No need to look elsewhere. (2) I live here, why pay for shipping from anywhere else? (3) I live here, so I might as well support the state economy rather than the economy of other countries, since I am not sacrificing quality (see item 1 above). That doesn't mean that there aren't great wines in the rest of the world, there are many. I just don't buy them...

Joel (a red wine guy who likes bourbon now and then)

TNbourbon
05-27-2006, 09:21
Another story:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;jsessionid=FEZTPUI1EPAU5QFIQMGSFFOAVCBQ WIV0?xml=/news/2006/05/25/nwine25.xml

BarItemsPlus1
06-11-2006, 16:34
mythrenegrade said...

The low end market has moved on from California to Australia and Chile.

I'm not sure on Chile's position in the market, however I can categorically say that Australia is fast becoming one of the the best wine producers in the world!! This is not to say that we still don't produce a number of 'budget' wines but Australia's position in the mid to premium end of the market is starting to take a strong stance.
Names such as Penfold's have established themselves quite firmly in the global market as a quality wine, however there are many others from various regions of Oz that are now becoming recognised as competitors to some of the more exclusive French & Californian wine makers....
Names such as
- d'Arenberg(The Dead Arm Shiraz, The Coppermine Rd, etc..)
- Craiglee(This is in the area I grew up in :grin: )
- Chapel Hill
I could go on and on listing many names but some of the best producing areas of Oz are...
- Margaret River, W.A.(Excellent Chardonnay region)
- Macedon Ranges, Vic.
- McLaren Vale, S.A.(Awesome reds!!)
- Beechworth, Vic.(Chardonnay & Pinot Noir)
- Mornington Peninsula(Starting to become recognised for some really great Whites and Pinot Noir)
There are still many other top producing regions, check out this link...
http://www.winediva.com.au/regions/regions.asp


Joel (a red wine guy who likes bourbon now and then)
Joel I would like to recommend that you try a bottle of - Chapel Hill The Vicar. Here is the link...
http://www.chapelhillwine.com.au/wines1/?wine=6

If you have trouble in locating it over there, just send me a PM and I will help out(If you are interested that is?! :grin: )

mythrenegade
06-12-2006, 17:39
I'm not sure on Chile's position in the market, however I can categorically say that Australia is fast becoming one of the the best wine producers in the world!! This is not to say that we still don't produce a number of 'budget' wines but Australia's position in the mid to premium end of the market is starting to take a strong stance.
Names such as Penfold's have established themselves quite firmly in the global market as a quality wine, however there are many others from various regions of Oz that are now becoming recognised as competitors to some of the more exclusive French & Californian wine makers....
Names such as
- d'Arenberg(The Dead Arm Shiraz, The Coppermine Rd, etc..)
- Craiglee(This is in the area I grew up in :grin: )
- Chapel Hill
I could go on and on listing many names but some of the best producing areas of Oz are...
- Margaret River, W.A.(Excellent Chardonnay region)
- Macedon Ranges, Vic.
- McLaren Vale, S.A.(Awesome reds!!)
- Beechworth, Vic.(Chardonnay & Pinot Noir)
- Mornington Peninsula(Starting to become recognised for some really great Whites and Pinot Noir)
There are still many other top producing regions, check out this link...
http://www.winediva.com.au/regions/regions.asp


Joel I would like to recommend that you try a bottle of - Chapel Hill The Vicar. Here is the link...
http://www.chapelhillwine.com.au/wines1/?wine=6

If you have trouble in locating it over there, just send me a PM and I will help out(If you are interested that is?! :grin: )

Let me clarify this a bit. The fact that the low end market has moved on from California to Australia and Chile does not mean that all of the wines from those countries is swill...

California was producing great wines long before anyone else was willing to recognize that. It was the wine competition that this post is all about that really turned the wine world on its head. Prior to that event, people had the general impression that to get great wine your only option was to buy French. This was not accurate, and the competition proved it.

California produces a lot of great wines these days. More than I can drink in my lifetime. We also produce our share of swill, at varying price points. More than once I've tasted a wine and leaned over to my wife and said "$30??? I wouldn't pay $5 for this!"

But, for the mass market, California is no longer the primary place to get low end premium wines. By premium wines I mean wines that are in 750ml bottles, not box wines or jug wines (and yes, I know there are some trying to sell premium box wines). It can still be done, but I have found that in the last few years there is a smaller selection of sub $10 (US funds of course) California wines, and a much larger selection of wines from Chile and Australia in this pricerange.

This is not a bad thing for Australia by any stretch. As with California, as those wines improve the demand for them goes up, driving the prices up for wines from the better producers. I used to buy Stag's Leap Cabernet (SLV and FAY) for $23 a bottle. Today I cannot find it for less than about $80 a bottle. The wine isn't any better today than it was then, it is simply much more in demand. Thus, the prices are a lot higher.

If only Stag's Leap was a great california wine, nobody would care about California wines. MOST regions have at least a few great producers. What needs to happen is that people need to keep buying low end Australian wines, like them, and then try moving "up the range" so to speak. If those wines are worth their additional price, they will sell well and the demand for mid-priced Australian (and Chilean) wines will increase.

There are other wines more highly regarded in california than Stag's Leap. I have tasted some of them, but generally I am not in the financial league to drink $100+ bottles of wine (some bottles of things like Opus One are far more than that). With a bottle of Bourbon, you can stretch a purchase of something like PVW over months or years. A great wine is gone in one sitting...

As for the wine you mentioned, I will look for it and give it a taste. I generally only drink California wine for two reasons (1) To support the economy of the state I live in, as it is no sacrifice to only drink California wines and (2) I can go to the winery, meet the wine maker, try the wines, and find what I like in person. This is huge to me. Still, I'll take the challenge you've thrown down. I don't see it on the list for wine exchange, so I may have to hunt a bit.

Joel

BarItemsPlus1
06-13-2006, 02:58
Ah...I see your point Joel and I do concur!

Joel I would be quite happy to trade a few bottles of Aussie wine for some Bourbon that I may not be able to get onto, e.g. possibly some ol' dusties if you can get them or possibly new stock that I can't get at the moment

If you are interested PM me and we will sort it out.
Cheers!