Does anyone care? Basically the new world wines have improved in quality over the last 10+ years to the point where does it really matter?
I’m not a big fan of French wines but thats a personal taste thing. Everyone tastes differently so there isn’t any reason for me to be critical of someone who does like French wines. But after 10+ (arguably 20) years of great wines coming out of other regions (like the US) there is a generation of wine drinkers that have “grown up” on non-French wines and, in cases like mine, don’t even like the taste, texture, and everything else of French wines.
There was an article on this on the CNN/Money website that points to consumption dropping in France and international competition from other wine regions. There are some valid points here and it makes plenty of sense. But the French are at a loss to understand why some sell and some don’t and why price cuts don’t help.
Let me break this down for you. The surge in worldwide consumption is driven by people understanding wine. When you and I can pick up a bottle of wine and have a general idea of what it should taste like without knowing the appellation, the wine maker’s history, the winery’s style, etc. etc. etc. then you will buy the wine. Thats all it takes. You want to sell more, make it easier to buy. THAT is why new world wine growth is out pacing old world. Its better marketing. US, Australia, New Zealand, South America, South Africa, and just about anywhere except the old world producers (Italy, France, et. al.) produce wine and name it by the GRAPE.
Its easy to understand what a Cab should taste like. But its not easy to know what a red from Bordeaux should taste like. So when does one order a red Bordeaux? Who outside of wine tools (no offense to the wine tools out there) and French people take the time to learn about French regions? The whole concept is a disaster (and, of course, somewhat arrogant).
Now, you can have a basic wine understanding of the different grapes and confidently pick wines at restuarants, bars, etc. and know what you’re getting. If you want to get more complex and learn the appellations, climate affects, barrel affects, etc. you can. But you don’t have to!! This makes it accessible and approachable by normal people. Which happens to be a bigger market than French people and wine tools.
Bottom line – its easier and less intimidating these days to stick to non-French wines so why bother with them. Only the French can save French wine industry.
(Read the follow on article “Can Anyone Save French Wine? (Part Duex)”)