Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Week in Alcohol

They celebrated with a jug of Gallo Hearty Burgundy The European Union has recognized the Napa Valley as a unique geographical designation, and will forbid the name's use on wine labels from any of its 27 member countries. (At issue were a total of nine European brands using the word 'Napa' on their labels.) The action was widely seen as a warm-up to the California industry's real problem down the road: China has a burgeoning low-cost wine industry, and as yet no agreement over forthright geographical designation with anybody.

No news yet of any reciprocal action on the part of American producers to keep false geographical claims like 'Burgundy', 'Chablis' or 'Champagne' off American wine-labels.

That's nothing---a week before, they offered absinthe to George W. Bush Recovering alcoholic Keith Urban was offered a bottle of wine while flying Quantas airlines; the press overreacts somewhat with 175 papers at last count covering the incident.

We'd noticed that Keith Urban's skin has looked better recently
A transdermal patch has been developed to deliver resveratrol, the alleged anti-aging and anti-everything ingredient of red wine, through the skin. One patch delivers the medicinal equivalent of 85 bottles worth of wine. Meanwhile, in other health news this week, red wine has been found to reduce the incidence of prostate cancer; and bulk wines were announced to have a smaller carbon footprint than bottled.

French Terrorists we can understand, part II As reported last month, France's Comite d'Action Regionale Viticole bombed grocery stores as an unorthodox method of forcing the national government to support prices in the flagging Languedoc wine industry. With the election of the tea-totaling but apparently wine-friendly president-elect Nicolas Sarkozy, the group has stepped up its rhetoric. In a tape sent to local television, balaclava-clad gunmen whipped up support for their industry: "Winemakers, we call on you to revolt. We are at the point of no return: If Sarkozy does not have the sense to support the wine sector, he will be responsible for what happens."

And we've got some Languedoc wine-people to chat with you as well In his second trip down Mount Ararat in a month, Robert Parker has predicted disaster for the 2006 Bordeaux futures---at least in North America. The folks at Decanter at least have a sense of levity about it all, attaching an ad for Ducru-Beaucaillou to their coverage.

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