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Sep 20, 2012 07:55 AM

French fear "chateau" may be allowed on non-estate imports

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  1. Interesting.

    Now, working over my feeble memory, I cannot think of any US wines, with either "Chateau," or "Clos," in their names, that would be the best examples of US wine, Imported into FR. OK, there are some good ones, but not THAT many, and still, not the best that we have to offer.

    I would MUCH rather see the EU allow some great Zinfandels Imported, without heavy tariffs. I would rather see Jos. Phelps Insignia Imported, without those heavy tariffs. Same for some other US wines.

    Were I the US Commissar of Wine Trade, I would gladly agree to address these concerns, but would hold out for Zins to be Imported, on a "neutral field."

    Of course, that could backfire, if all of our Zins got exported... I mean, what would I do, without the Black Chicken, that I am sipping right now?


    3 Replies
      1. re: zin1953


        Do you refer to Ch. Cache Phlo, or maybe Ch. Burbank (quite nice Chard, IMHO)?

        Sipping another Black Chicken, in case the international market explodes, and I never get to see it, in the few years, that I have left...



      2. re: Bill Hunt

        You are breaking the heart of TJ Rodgers, Cypress Semiconductor's CEO,
        whose winery, Clos de La Tech, aims at competing with Romanee Conti.
        Of course this is easy if you start with a billion $$$s

      3. Is this a weird latent fear of Chateau Montelena?

        6 Replies
        1. re: ellaystingray

          No, but Montelena is one winery that would/could be affected.

          1. re: zin1953

            Zin, I am sure you saw my tongue firmly planted in my cheeck while referencing the Paris Tasting.

            I hope the French are also drawing up a press-release scolding Chateau Musar for having vineyards about 200,000 baguettes from their winery and calling themselves a Chateau.

            1. re: ellaystingray

              It is also worth pointing out that the French are eager to ban "chateau" and
              "clos" but do not mention"domaine" (could it be because Domaine Chandon,
              Domaine Carneros and Domaine Drouhin would be affected?). Obviously,
              crass mercantilism is alive and well in France.

              1. re: bclevy

                Well, keep in mind that there is no "Domaine Chandon" per se. Nowhere on the boxes or labels is the winery called "Domaine Chandon," and hasn't for several years -- though certainly Domaine Chandon was its original name, and remains the corporate (but not the brand) name.

                Be that as it may, 1) domain(e) is also a word in English, and 2) I'm sure there are more American-owned wineries -- as opposed to French-American joint ventures or wholly owned French subsidiaries -- with the word "domaine" in their names.

                I wouldn't chalk it up to cynicism and/or crass mercantilism in the way you (apparently) mean it, but rather to the protection of all things French, including things like "Brie" and "Camembert." It's no different (at least not to me) than "Champagne" and "sparkling wine," "Trockenbeerenausles" and "Select Late Harvest," or "Porto" and "Port" -- although I thought Andrew Quady did it one better by calling it "Starboard."

                Besides which, I've always thought it was a stupid idea to call your winery by a French name, anyway.

                1. re: zin1953

                  Given that Clos du Val was founded by a Frenchman (Bernard Pontet),
                  how thoughtless of him to pick a name that reflected his cultural heritage.

                  1. re: bclevy

                    Actually, Clos du Val was founded by an Englishman, John Goelet, who HIRED Bernard to work for him and have him find a site for the winery . . . Bernard's brother went on to create Goeliet's other winery, Taltarni, in Victoria.

                    All told, Goelet Wine Estates is the worldwide marketer for all five of the Goelet-owned wineries -- Clos du Val (Napa Valley, USA), Taltarni (Victoria, AUS), Clover Hill (Tasmania, AUS), Lalla Gully (Tasmania, AUS), and Domaine de Nizas (Languedoc, FRANCE).

        2. What I find sort of hilarious about this is that I can't really believe there is ANY substantial amount of Clos, Domaine, Chateau et al wine from U.S. sold in the EU. I mean, I get it. Sense of place and regulated quality and standards are something we can all certainly get behind...but for the tear drop of wine sold from the U.S. in the entire EU market it seems like, well, just a bit paranoid. Unless they are targeting a massive ramp-up of Chateau Julien being sold in Aldi's all over Europe, that name seems likes pure subterfuge.

          Oh, and what if the winery just puts it in quotes
          "Clos" Pepe
          "Chateau" St. Jean
          "Domaine" Laurier

          Good thing they already cancelled Hospice du Rhone.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ellaystingray

            If I look hard, I can find a few Gallo bottles at the Auchan -- and while they're not expensive (6-8 euros, depending on the week) they are more expensive than some of the AOC Bordeaux and Bourgognes on the same shelf (and there's no comparison on quality -- these are entry-level supermarket Gallos)

            I agree, Ella - the vast majority of folks aren't going to be swayed.