Monday, April 14, 2008

Good News for Champagne Lovers

Via Vinography I learned that France is going to expand the Champagne AOC (appellation) so that new villages and wineries can now put Champagne on their labels. This move is to satisfy growing worldwide demand for Champagne, mostly coming from the newly rich in Russia and China.

This is good because it means we will be introduced to new wines that probably never got exported because Champagne wasn't on the label and will hopefully help keep Champagne prices in check now that more wineries are competing.

For those who need some background, only wineries within the Champagne region of France are allowed to put Champagne on their label, even though similar wines are produced elsewhere. Of course, Champagne gained a reputation over the years for producing the best sparkling wine, which is why being able to label your wine Champagne is so coveted.

As a side note, sparkling wine should only be called Champagne if it is from Champagne. This may seem trivial, but imagine for a moment that Virginia produced the best red wine in the world. Wouldn't it make you angry if winemakers in France were putting 'Virginia' on their labels to help sell the wine? I cringe on the inside when I see mediocre sparkling wine from California at the grocery store labeled Champagne.

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