By Jessica Yadegaran
Tuesday, June 19th, 2007 at 5:19 pm in Uncategorized.
Anyone else see Jason Burke’s piece about hard times in the Languedoc? My friend George sent The Observer link to me, and boy, is it a hoot. I love British wine-writing. It’s so…ripe.
Not to make light of it. Wine growers in the south of France have been suffering economic hardship for some time, mainly due to competition from abroad: their brothers’ Burgundy and Bordeaux, our Cabs, and maybe, most recently, New Zealand’s Pinots topping the list, I’d say. Spanish wines and Malbec are probably taking a piece of their pie as well. Other parts of France haven’t felt it, but the Languedoc-Roussillon, ignored to some extent by consumers within France, certainly has.
Turns out a group there known as CRAV (Comité Régional d’Action Viticole), or regional winegrowers’ action committee, threatened violence in a video released to French TV if new President Nicolas Sarkozy does not do something soon to help them.
While it begs for Al Queada-like treatment in a Saturday Night Live spoof (I can just see Alec Baldwin swirling and spitting and spitting again), these people aren’t joking. According to the story, two years ago, winegrowers in the area protested similar economic conditions that caused them to sell their production at a loss. They clashed with police and two buildings were targeted with makeshift bombs. Last year, the wine tanks of distributors in the southwest, blamed for forcing local prices down by importing cheap wine from Spain, were destroyed.
As an homage to the Languedoc, which produces delicious, exciting and affordable table wines, may I recommend Domaine De Niza’s Coteaux de Languedoc? It’s a hearty blend of Mourvedre, Syrah and Grenache that’s got equal parts smoke, meat and blackened fruit.