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(Guardian)   American wine producers banned from using the word "Chateau" on their wines unless they can actually see a castle from their vineyard   (guardian.co.uk) divider line 330
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11843 clicks; posted to Main » on 16 Sep 2005 at 10:53 AM (9 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2005-09-16 12:56:13 PM  
First they'll have to build a town hall, then upgrade.
 
2005-09-16 12:56:31 PM  
BobTheFirstJr-

OK.. showing my ignorance, I realize, but...
Does the Pope own 'Chateauneuf du Pape'? Or however they spell it.


No. It's a place name. And for the record, Chevy Chase doesn't own the town of Chevy Chase, MD either. =D
 
2005-09-16 12:59:28 PM  
BobTheFirstJr: OK.. showing my ignorance, I realize, but... Does the Pope own 'Chateauneuf du Pape'? Or however they spell it.

It was called Chateauneuf du Pape because, yes indeed, the pope lived there. The wine industry, as with the rest of the region, benefitted from the (seven?) popes who took up (summer?) residence in Avignon.
 
2005-09-16 01:01:29 PM  
bdub77: People who know their wine probably won't buy a wine labeled Chablis from California.

True, but people who don't know their wine also buy plenty of wine, and they're swayed by marketing like "Fume Blanc".
 
2005-09-16 01:01:58 PM  
Homero_G-

In italy if it isn't made with just grapes (and nothing else), legally you are not allowed to call it wine.

This is actually true almost everywhere, and it's a theme common to many other fun beverages as well. "Lambic" isn't technically beer, and cannot be labelled as such, because they mix fruit in with the wort. Bourbon must be made from at least 50% corn mash, or it can't be called "Bourbon".
Wine is made from grapes. If it's not, it's something else.
 
2005-09-16 01:04:22 PM  
flavor of the month: good. americans have been bootlegging french wine for years. i've always thought of american champagnes as the beverage equivalent of those Bruce Li movies from the 80s.


You want kung-fu?
 
2005-09-16 01:04:22 PM  
some_wild-eyed_8-foot_tall_maniac:

Therein lies the difference. If you name you kid "John", and he gets called "Bob" by a bunch of people, his name doesn't change to "Bob".

That's not exactly the same situation. "John" and "Bob" don't describe specific characteristics about the person, and these non-existent characterstics aren't being altered or nullified by the changing use of the name. (I hope that makes as much sense as it did in my head.) All the same, if John wanted to change his name, he could very well do so.

As such, it's about time we started calling things what they are. Let the French have "Chateau". We're Americans. I'm sure we can innovate and come up with our own branding. No need to emulate a country that so many of us seem to want to bash, right?

I agree that American vineyards should start coming up with more appropriate names. However, do we really need to outlaw the use of names that violate the traditional meaning? Rather, we should be advertising the fact that many American wines are much better than a lot of French wines. Then again, if "Chateau Blanc" sells better than "Oak Ridge", why should they change without legal pressure?
 
2005-09-16 01:05:10 PM  
Oh THANK GOD I'll never have to go through this again:

"I'll have the Chateau Rochelle 2002"
"Excellent Choice, Monsieur"

(waiter pours the taster)

"PPPPPPPPFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFTTTTTTTTTTT!!! OMGWTF!! Take this shiat back and bring me some REAL chateau, this was clearly grown NOWHERE NEAR a castle, you subhuman waste of space! You swine! You piss!"
"Right away"
"You half-brained simian"

et al.
 
2005-09-16 01:06:21 PM  
You know, if someone made a wine named 'Old Smashed Grapes in a Pretty Bottle', I'd buy it.

/hell, it'd be worth it for the comedic value alone. I could serve it to guests I don't like.
 
2005-09-16 01:07:30 PM  
Oh, I found a loophole! Did they specify the age and size of the castle? No? Well then, sales of minigolf "castles" will skyrocket so that they can be within "view of a castle."

/Doesn't drink wine.
//Wine snobs can ruin a perfectly good conversation.
///Just kidding.
////Nobody reads this far.
 
2005-09-16 01:08:42 PM  
some_wild-eyed_8-foot_tall_maniac: This is actually true almost everywhere, and it's a theme common to many other fun beverages as well. "Lambic" isn't technically beer, and cannot be labelled as such, because they mix fruit in with the wort. Bourbon must be made from at least 50% corn mash, or it can't be called "Bourbon".
Wine is made from grapes. If it's not, it's something else.



Mead is made with only Honey. Pyment blends honey, grape juice and water. Melomel is made from honey, water and any fruit other than grapes or apples. Metheglin starts with traditional mead but has herbs and spices added. Hippocrass is a combination of Pyment and spices.

Braggot marks the invention of Ale. Brewed from honey, malted barley and sometimes hops.
 
2005-09-16 01:11:20 PM  
Camelot...

Camelot!

Camelot!

It's only a model...
 
2005-09-16 01:11:32 PM  
Wouldnt some of these things fall under the same situation Kleenex, Band-aid, Xerox, etc. have? I mean I never ask where the mimeograph machine is. I say "where's the xerox?" I don't care if its a Canon or Epson.
-c
 
2005-09-16 01:11:35 PM  
 
2005-09-16 01:13:13 PM  
fudgefactor7

The only reason these protectionist laws exist is because the Italians and French fear our wine. We have just as good a product as anything they can muster, and they want to somehow produce a false rift in the mindset of the consumer

Yes, they do want to create a rift in the mind of the consumer, because it's essentially their BRAND! Geography makes a big difference in wine. Where the grapes are grown determines the content of the soil, which some people believe effects the taste of the wine. I don't see how this is so confusing to people. If it was a company claiming that somebody was causing their trademark to be de-valued, are you telling me you would think the company using someone elses trademark was within their rights? If I create an anti-impotence drug, am I allowed to call it Viagra because it does the same thing as that drug?

If, as you say, the American wines are that much better, then they should be able to gain market share based on their quality. So why do American producers need to rip off the brand names Europeans have spent centuries creating for their marketing? If your wine is better, create your own label for it or the region it comes from and then the market will eventually know that the label signifies quality.
 
2005-09-16 01:13:47 PM  
ccattie: Wouldnt some of these things fall under the same situation Kleenex, Band-aid, Xerox, etc. have? I mean I never ask where the mimeograph machine is. I say "where's the xerox?" I don't care if its a Canon or Epson.

Exactly. The difference is that Canon can't label their mimeograph as "Xerox", but cheap sparkling wine is sometimes still called "Champagne".
 
2005-09-16 01:14:51 PM  
Bukharin: Why eat Uno's deepdish when you could eat Giordano's Stuffed.


We used to have Giordano's delivered to my apartment. Two large deep dish pizzas weighed 24 pounds. Pretty good pizza and mighty filling!
 
2005-09-16 01:16:28 PM  
I wonder how grapes grow near a certain college town in central Illinois; I see an opportunity for vintners to sell American champagne labeled as such under a technicality.

/2005 a good year for champaign?
 
2005-09-16 01:16:42 PM  
This place (where the wife and I got hitched) is still standing after the hurricane.

 
2005-09-16 01:19:05 PM  
'Old Smashed Grapes in a Pretty Bottle' would be a great name for a band.

/Dave Barry
 
2005-09-16 01:20:14 PM  
Bukharin-

How do you feel about Georgian wines?

There are good and not-so-good wines from almost any place you care to look. With the market the way it is today, your best bet is to worry more about the quality, style, and the price of what you're buying than where it comes from. Don't get hung up on fads, like "OMG! All New Zealand wines are the best!" or "South African is SO much better than French, blah blah blah".

Value is the benck mark that is best to go by, and many, many American (specifically California) wines are WAY over-valued these days. If you're paying more than $15 for a single bottle of wine, it should be good, no matter where it's from. If it's not, you paid WAY too much. Find a small boutique wine that is cheaper (and that you like), and buy a case of it. Or five cases. It'll save you money and pain in the long run, and you might end up with something that will be worth more in a few years.

My advice is, get a copy of "Wine for Dummies", or "Fear of Wine", the latest issue of Wine Spectator, and go to a local tasting/look at a few online forums. If you want to get your money's worth, you should be in a position to:

a)know what you like (this is sometimes the hardest part)
b)describe it using the correct terminology
c)find a way to get it

The best advice I can give you is: Drink as many different wines as you can!

PS- if you find a wine too acidic, try it with something in a sauce that's very butttery or creamy. You might find that it's actually quite good with the right food. A dry, acidic white goes very well with buerre blanc, or pasta alfredo.

Cheers!
 
2005-09-16 01:20:22 PM  
ElCorridor, yes yes it does.
 
2005-09-16 01:20:50 PM  
Red Hot Monkey Lover


True, but people who don't know their wine also buy plenty of wine, and they're swayed by marketing like "Fume Blanc".


Which means white smoke and has nothing to do with geography. Actually Robert Mondavi I believe coined the term fume blanc. But that aside, I don't care what sways them. In fact I don't even care that much about the argument. I just think it's dumb to enact a law like this, because the French are so goddamn insistent that geography is key to a good wine. Which is hardly the truth.

Actually, the funny thing is, I rarely buy French Bordeaux because there is such a significant difference between good Bordeaux and bad Bordeaux I have to be very selective to find a good one, usually looking for a Cru accompanying the name. I find it a lot easier to find a good California Cabernet because I know what type of wine I'm getting, good or bad.
 
2005-09-16 01:21:16 PM  
Then, in fairness, the French may no longer use the name "McDonalds" unless there's a clown working behind the counter.... oh, wait.
 
2005-09-16 01:23:28 PM  
animal900: Rev. Skarekroe
Why is it with all the suffering in the world, it's stuff like this that makes me furious?
I wish I made wine. I'd make it in my apartment bathtub but I'd call it Chateau Champagne just to piss these snobby assholes off.

You have a problem with truth in labeling? Would you be happy to open a box of Corn Flakes only to find it full of Dandruf Flakes? If you put more than 2 seconds of thought into it, you'll find it's actually quite reasonable.


My Toll House cookies were not made in a toll house. When I go to Burger King, I don't require that it have any connection with royalty. Magic Chef appliances have no connection with the occult, to my knowledge.
They're part of the products' brand names. It's not like they're selling malt liquour and calling it wine.
 
2005-09-16 01:25:30 PM  
bdub77-

There's actually a B&B in St. Tropez called "Chateau du Sable". (sable=sand)

There's probably already a wine with that name also. I haven't seen it, but it's too obvious not to be out there somewhere.
 
2005-09-16 01:26:48 PM  
some_wild-eyed_8-foot_tall_maniac: ...it's about helping more people get the wines they want. That's in everyone's best interest.

Amen.
 
2005-09-16 01:29:58 PM  
Bukharin

Wow! You sure know your mead! the closest thing I've tried to mead is Midas Touch from DogfishHead. Yummy! And strong as hell. I forget the technical category it falls into, but it's a mix of mead, beer, and wine that they reconstitued from scrapings off the tomb of King Midas.
 
2005-09-16 01:31:07 PM  
Good thing...

I'm surprised they actually can use the term "Champagne", it's actually forbidden in the non-Champagne areas in France and all over the EU.
 
2005-09-16 01:32:47 PM  
some_wild-eyed_8-foot_tall_maniac

I'm a homebrewer/meadmaker. I think that's why I know so little about wine. I started when I was 'underage' because it was easy to buy grain or local honey in a farmtown without suspicion. Grapes didnt grow where I was from.
 
2005-09-16 01:35:23 PM  
There's probably already a wine with that name also.

I'll pay 50 dollars!
 
2005-09-16 01:35:25 PM  
"American wine producers banned from using the word "Chateau" on their wines unless they can actually see a castle from their vineyard"

Seriously, what difference does it make if the grapes are grown in sight of a castle or not? They're still gonna be the same grapes.
 
2005-09-16 01:38:55 PM  
For people who care about wine names, they should help themselves to a nice glass of "Pisse-Dru".
Which, translated into Common means "Urinate like a friggin' horse"
 
2005-09-16 01:39:06 PM  
PS- if you find a wine too acidic, try it with something in a sauce that's very butttery or creamy. You might find that it's actually quite good with the right food. A dry, acidic white goes very well with buerre blanc, or pasta alfredo.

Also very good with fish, which tastes better with acid (ie why people put lemon on their fish).
 
2005-09-16 01:41:45 PM  
some_wild-eyed_8-foot_tall_maniac: My advice is, get a copy of "Wine for Dummies", or "Fear of Wine", the latest issue of Wine Spectator, and go to a local tasting/look at a few online forums. If you want to get your money's worth, you should be in a position to:

Never trust the hacks at wine spectator. Any mag that takes advertisments has an vested interest. Rather try 'Wine Advocate' since he accepts no advertising and is generally considered the 'Consumer Reports' of wine. If you ask your local library nicely, they'll even subscribe for you.
 
2005-09-16 01:42:47 PM  
Also very good with fish, which tastes better with acid

I've heard that Phish sounds better with acid.
 
2005-09-16 01:44:00 PM  
Bucephalus-

That's not exactly the same situation. "John" and "Bob" don't describe specific characteristics about the person, and these non-existent characterstics aren't being altered or nullified by the changing use of the name.

Well, the term "Chateau X" doesn't describe any characteristics of a wine, other than where it comes from, and sometimes, what family made it. Calling John "Bob" doesn't change John as a person, but it does negate the reason for calling him "John" in the first place If you disagree, try changing the name on your driver's license without going to city hall and filling out the paperwork.

I agree that American vineyards should start coming up with more appropriate names. However, do we really need to outlaw the use of names that violate the traditional meaning?

Again, what's in a name? If I post as "Bucephalus" on Fark, it might not damage you personally, but it would certainly confuse a lot of people. So there are rules to the contrary.

Rather, we should be advertising the fact that many American wines are much better than a lot of French wines.

Or, we could just advertise that "Wine X" is very good. Why lend credence to a competitor by naming them? If some American wines are better than French wines, why name them with French-sounding names? The reason we need a law at the moment is because there is too much chaos on the American side of the industry, and everyone is confused about wine. There are a lot more stupid, useless laws than this. At least this helps everybody. Not like, say, laws banning gay marriage or oral sex.
 
2005-09-16 01:44:06 PM  
The ONLY funny part to "Sideways" was when the character played by Thomas Haden Church was at the golf course and he went chasing after the old geezers like a madman.

The rest of the movie made my eyes bleed. I had to drink several shots of Vodka to make the pain go away.

Regardless, there's nothing wrong with the French asking for these concessions from the US. It's basically a regionally based trademark. I wouldn't would them calling their beer "big swell" if that's what I called the beer I brewed at home.


/drinks Muller Thurgau, Riesling and cheap-ass White Zinfandel
//drinks what he likes, not what people recommend
///slahsy! slashy! slashy!
 
2005-09-16 01:45:35 PM  
White Infandel

ha!
 
2005-09-16 01:46:01 PM  
bdub77 Which means white smoke and has nothing to do with geography. Actually Robert Mondavi I believe coined the term fume blanc.

Indeed, and he made a pile of money off it. Had it been labeled "Napa Valley Chardonnay" it wouldn't have had the exotic sound of a foreign name. Not too foreign to be unpronouncable, but easy to say and easy to recognize. That kind of thing sells. But that aside...

But that aside, I don't care what sways them. In fact I don't even care that much about the argument. I just think it's dumb to enact a law like this, because the French are so goddamn insistent that geography is key to a good wine. Which is hardly the truth.

Personally, I disagree with that. You can't grow anything in the far south or north. You can't grow much in overly humid climates due to rot. You can't grow good Cabernet on a shady northern-hemisphere north-facing slope. You can't grow good Riesling in an overly hot environment. You can't grow good Chenin in warm, overly fertile soil. Good geography matched to the proper vine is very important in making good wine.

Now, having said that...

If what you mean is that only Burgundy can produce a Burgundy-style and quality wine, of course that isn't true. Is Champagne the only area that can make great bubbly? Of course not.

I think what the French are insistent about is that others don't cash in on their success and market an inferior product with the same name. Or even an equal product. I don't want to buy a bottle of wine labeled "Cote du Rhone" and find out it was grown in Bulgaria and crafted in Phoenix. It's more than a place name, it's a brand and the French have to meet requirements to use that brand -- one of the requirements is that it's made in the geographical area.

Should I be allowed to grow grapes in my back yard and sell it as "Napa Valley Pinot Noir"? Should the French be allowed to produce plonk in Languedoc and sell it as Screaming Eagle? ;-)

As for the whole Chateau thing, I think it's BS. Sure you need to make a Bordeaux in a chateau to have "Chateau" on the label, but it can (and is) done in the garage of a house on the property. Even if a "castle" was required, it is in no way going to make the wine better. I think they're taking the argument to the ridiculous extreme. (I'm even a little suspicious of the article).

[Must be Friday, drinking's on the brain]
 
2005-09-16 01:46:16 PM  
I never ask where the mimeograph machine is. I say "where's the xerox?" I don't care if its a Canon or Epson.

Mimeograph??? Are you 90? What's wrong with "copier" or "photocopier".
 
2005-09-16 01:46:30 PM  
champagne is a type of wine not a description of where it came from.
 
2005-09-16 01:49:02 PM  
Hebalo: Mimeograph??? Are you 90? What's wrong with "copier" or "photocopier".


Electrically automated xerographic printing machine?
 
2005-09-16 01:52:13 PM  
champagne is a type of wine not a description of where it came from.

Really? So the fact that most champange (except for the american ones that are ripping off the name) come from Champange in France is just some weird coincidence?
 
2005-09-16 01:53:25 PM  


"Didn't we pass a castle back down the road a few miles?"
 
2005-09-16 01:53:57 PM  
Bukharin-

I'm a homebrewer/meadmaker.

Damn, I was going to ask you if I could buy some of your mead from you, but then I checked your profile, and I see that it would cost too much to ship it here.

I think it's great that you homebrew. You probably know as much about hops and grain as anyone with a commercial brewery. I also think it's great that you're interested in other things, like wine. If you know of any mead breweries (meaderies?) in the US, please let me know. I'm interested in trying something new.
 
2005-09-16 01:57:39 PM  
2005-09-16 11:42:41 AM Bukharin

I hope this snowballs into other arenas. I would love to get access to more non-Reinheitgebot beer in Germany.

Be careful what you wish for...

 
2005-09-16 01:59:51 PM  
well, you merkans already have your castles in the sky, ain't they good enough?
 
2005-09-16 02:00:21 PM  
some_wild-eyed_8-foot_tall_maniac

Any store-bought mead I have ever tried was 'meh.'
I advise you make your own. It is both easy and cheap.
The heavy investment is knowing the bottles are there...
but waiting and waiting to drink them.

http://www.gotmead.com/making-mead/

Depending on how much you wanted to make at one time:
a 5 gallon glass fermentation carboy would cost about 13$
a 3 gallon glass fermentation carboy would cost about 10$
a 1 gallon glass jug would cost about 5$

That, and perhaps empty bottles and a syphon hose are all the equipment you absolutly need.
 
2005-09-16 02:00:22 PM  
Yeah, since the name makes it taste better.

Either that or the grapes decide to do better when they can see a castle.

/didn't rtfa
//who cares
 
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