1 EAGLETON NOTES: If You Can't Beat Them ......

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Saturday, 10 August 2019

If You Can't Beat Them ......


I recently bought a bottle of wine when I was in Bishopbriggs. I thought, when I picked it up, that it was a New Zealand wine. I think you would probably make the same assumption.

I didn't look at the back of the bottle and took it on face value noting that, as is the habit in New Zealand, it was a Sav Blanc and was therefore being sold to be drunk young.

When I got it back to Anna's where I was staying I noticed that it wasn't a New Zealand or even a New World wine. It was a French one.

This is an on-line product sales description for this wine:
"Get the best of both worlds with this crisp and easy-drinking French-Kiwi wine. Made in France but with New World modern know-how, this fresh, zinging Sauvignon Blanc is great with any kind of salad: green, pasta, fruit, tabouleh, you name it! 
So here's a turn-up for the books: a French wine that looks just like a New World one. The kiwi in question refers to the fruit rather than the geographical location."

Please excuse me if I sound rather disbelieving. The French have obviously realised that there is money to be made in misleading people into believing that they are buying a Kiwi wine instead if a French one.

Don't get me wrong. This was a very acceptable Sav Blanc. And it was (almost) good enough to have been a New Zealand wine but at less than the usual price of a New Zealand wine. 

I suppose that one has to hand it to the French and this particular deception if a pretty flattering 

26 comments:

  1. oh yeah, maybe they are riding on our coat tails so to speak. My other half loves sav too, his favourite is one called villa maria. Not my thing though...

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    1. Amy, I don't generally drink white wine but it was a hot day and we just fancied a cold sav. I have drunk a few glasses of Villa Maria in my time I do confess!

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  2. They really take you in with that description. But it was good wine!

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  3. The French have been very slow to adopt the benefits of new-world wine making techniques. One does see grape varieties mentioned on labels, but so many bottles are still marked with just the name of the area of origin. If a bottle of wine simply says 'Bordeaux', it means nothing, and often hides a wine of bad quality. Things have changed, but they still have a long way to go. Sitting back on laurels has not been kind to them.

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    1. Cro, I think that the Brits, like the New World, like to know that when they open a bottle that it will taste like the last bottle of that wine. The whole thing about French wine is that it varies from vintage to vintage. C'est la vie.

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  4. I am very surprised. I thought the French were inordinately proud of their wine and wouldn't dream of passing it off as a new world interloper

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    1. JayCee, the French were/are inordinately proud of their wines but, unfortunately for them, that doesn't mean that the rest of the world shares their view.

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  5. Those cunning French! Thank heavens we whupped their asses at Waterloo!

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  6. That's a bit cheeky of the French wine maker! The French are so pedantic when it comes to others using their wine terms/names. yet they blatantly break their own rules!

    New Zealand's Marlborough Sounds produce great Sauvignon Blancs...it is little wonder the French want to emulate them! :)

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    1. Lee, you make very good points about both the French and the Marlborough wines.

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  7. I am not sure I have ever tried wine from NZ. Most shops here sort their wine shelves according to country of origin, with the name of the country above the shelf so that one can not accidentally get the "wrong" one.

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    1. Meike, most UK supermarkets also sort their wines by both colour and country but I just happened to see the label as I was walking down the aisle and picked it up: the label is good marketing.

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  8. Maybe they had to springboard off the New Zealand wine industry? We check out World Market where the wines are grouped together.

    Just over from Cro Magnon.

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    1. Helio Susan. Wines are loosely grouped together is many supermarkets here too. However I just happened to see this bottle and was attracted to it because it looked like a New Zealand wine that I didn't know. Thanks for popping over.

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  9. Have to admire their marketing cunning, if nothing else. But I'm glad you found it acceptable!

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    1. Thanks, Pauline. I'm more taken aback that the French (or at least a few of them) admit that New World wines are so much to the taste of other people that that copying them is the way to go.

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  10. Playing "devil's advocaat" here (pun!) but I used to work at a vineyard, so I feel I have some right to jump in...

    Since we're discussing geography and wine, and I know that a bottle labeled "champagne" is supposed to have been grown in the Champagne region of France... so isn't it misleading for a "Sauvignon Blanc" to come from New Zealand, instead of the Bordeaux region where it is grown in France?

    Also, according to Wikipedia, "The grape most likely gets its name from the French words sauvage ("wild") and blanc ("white") due to its early origins as an indigenous grape in South West France."

    ... point of interest!

    And, as always, buyer beware. I liken this "kiwi confusion" to the labeling tricks used by the creamer companies... using the same color coding and font style for "fat free" as for "sugar free". With a diabetic husband, I know the frustration of getting home from the weekly shopping and finding I've bought the wrong one due to ridiculously similar labeling and my inattention to details.

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    1. Oops, sorry, Marcheline. I somehow missed this comment. To be a bit picky perhaps I could say that Champagne is , as you know, a DOC (Designation of Origin) protected by law. (Just like Harris Tweed) rather than anything to do with the grape varieties used. . Champagne is made from various grapes. Those grape varietals are used in wines the world over. Sauvignon Blanc is simply another grape variety grown and used used all over the world, that happens to be of French origin and have a French name.

      PS Sorry if that sounded like I'm a schoolteacher.

      Advertisers and marking people have been using this sort of subterfuge since the birth of the subject.

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  11. A bit cheeky and interesting that the French, famous for wine, want it to mimic a New world Wine.

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    1. Diane, French wine sales in the UK are dropping in favour of New World wines.

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  12. Now that we are back in Britain and ex France I could be rather rude about wine made in France. But I have to admit that the red wine produced on the vineyards next to our ex home and drunk in our local cafés with friends was very tasty! I shall miss them and their low prices. Lesley
    PS I've a lot of catching up to do as, on the move, we have been without the Internet at home.

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    1. Hi Lesley. I, too, have drunk some excellent French wine from a cave near where I stayed in the Poitou Charente many times with friends as well as much bought here in the UK. I'm very happy to give the French the credit they are due. Generally speaking, though, Brits like the consistency of New World wines without relying on a knowledge of vintage and varying prices. The French have obviously sussed this out.

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