Enough French style wine.

I am about to rant my pants off, so if you’re not interested perhaps check out our blog about Dinosaurs and wine!

Apologies in advance if anyone gets offended by this post. It’s not meant to offend only express frustration.

I love wine, I drink a lot of it. I love English wine, South African Wine, Australian Wine French Wine, Italian Wine, Spanish Wine, Greek Wine……… you get the picture? I travel for wine, I collect wine, and I love to talk about wine. I love to meet winemakers to talk about their craft and even their art!

I believe that winemaking is a form of art, an expression of a person, a time and a terroir. So I find it increasingly annoying to hear that a winemaker wants to copy their favourite French wine.

We all know that allegedly imitation is the highest form of flattery, but why?

I have traveled around the world tasting wine, and meeting winemakers who have expressed that they are inspired by, and therefore making wine in the style of someone or somewhere else. I DON’T GET IT! I have torn my hair out over this (not literally, of course, I value my hair too much). I was thinking about this in the shower this evening, and I realised I am very annoyed by this.

Talented winemakers are trying expressly to make wines that are equal to or similar in profile to wines that they love. While I know that inspiration is important, Lord knows we would be living in a dull world if there wasn’t any. I also know that if I want a Côtes du Rhône, I will buy a Côtes du Rhône. If I want Champagne I will buy Champagne. I don’t want to find myself in Australia talking to a winemaker who is trying to replicate his favourite Bordeaux. That is not why I went to Australia. This is happening far too often when I am traveling.

Excellent winemakers all around the world seem to be obsessed with French Wine, and this love affair has seeped into their winemaking. First of all, trying to make a Bordeaux in Australia is very different to making it in in Bordeaux. Make Australian wine in Australia. Make South African Wine in South Africa, Make English wine in England. Make the wine of the region you are based in. Be inspired by the terroir, be amazed at your creative talent, and embrace your skills. Let France keep their wine, we all know how much they love it!

I have met winemakers who are making some unbelievable juice, with varied ranges of success (mostly very successful to be fair) who are comparing their wine to other producers and regions in an attempt to validate their hard work. This is not necessary. I have travelled far to seek you out specifically because I believe your wine is excellent or I have done my research and heard your wine is excellent. This doesn’t mean that the wine they produce isn’t good because they want to make French style, it is excellent, I just find myself frustrated by this fascination with French wine.

Wine is art, and like art is original to its maker, and should remain so. I want winemakers to be inspired, and to OWN their craft. The wines I have loved the most are where the winemakers have dared to do something different and outside of the box. This is why I love wine, It can be unique and awesome, and not a copy.

Rant over. Time for some wine. Not french though although I do love French wine.

7 Comments

  1. A brilliant rant Annabelle, and one I agree with entirely. It goes back further than you can imagine … would you believe when we were students … 50 years ago, you could buy, Chilean Chablis, Californian Burgundy … I kid you not! The lack of labelling laws was a nightmare. Like you we have travelled the world exploring the culture and traditions of wine in many many vineyards, it seems that only the “old world” keep their traditions separate based on terroir specifically. I am currently tasting my way though my Wines 101 Bucket List and am about to start tasting the 5 Australian wines I have bought that hopefully typify Australia! USA next so I hope I can find typical wines. I may need help!!

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      1. It’s complicated, but I’ll do my best to describe. Go to my blog and click on the Wines 101 tab and read the post. It won’t take long then come back and I’ll explain more

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  2. No, you need the introduction to it, Henry Pelle was just one domaine on my list, click the tab at the top of the blog, it begins “Bucket lists are like Marmite ..” just the top couple of paragraphs about How It All Began

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      1. I am guided by the book, 101 wines to try before you die, and another one called 1001 wines to try before you die, both on Amazon. I have a collection of 200 wines but mostly red and white burgundy so I don’t want to OWN wines any more, just to keep exploring Europe and getting advice about other countries. I have a brilliant blogger friend, an American lady sommelier living in Italy, her blog is Vinthropology, and have asked her to recommend 10 iconic wines from different regions of Italy I will then buy. I’m familiar with Australia and have just bought 5 from different areas. I intend to “tour” USA wines next and will contact some American experts I know for advice. Do look at Vinthropology website.

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