Wine: Export strength

Is it because France's wine producers are trying to have their cake and eat it that their wine seems to be trying to pull in several different directions at once? On the one hand figures show that France is shifting shedloads of wine with exports in excess of €9bn (about £7bn), or the equivalent of sales of 180 Airbus aircraft. Excellent news for France. But on the other hand, the euro's frightening power, in line with the pound and the dollar, not forgetting the Chinese yuan, spells trouble for its efforts to increase its exports.

Champagne is one of its greatest continuing success stories with more than 338 million bottles of champagne sold worldwide in 2007. Small wonder with champagnes of the calibre of Selfridges Premier Cru Champagne, £22.99, a seductive fizz from the house of Médot's Philippe Guidot and Thierry Lombard, whose copper tinges betray a base of toasty aromas. The biggest growth area in fizz – bringing the value of all French sparkling wines to €593m – came not from champagne, though, but from Crémant de Bourgogne, and with raspberryish elegance from Blason de Bourgogne's Crémant de Bourgogne Rosé, £8.99, Waitrose, burgundy's fizz is a handy alternative to champagne.

Thanks to a boost from good recent vintages in 2005 and 2006, Burgundy saw its sales up by more than 20 per cent. There's another reason: a big improvement in red and white burgundy appellations once considered dull as ditchwater. Mâcon's many village chardonnays are on the up with wines like Christophe Cordier's intense 2006 Mâcon Fuissé Vieilles Vignes, £10.99, or buy two = £9.99, Majestic. Aloxe Corton in reds can be good value too, like the succulently raspberryish 2005 Aloxe-Corton, £18.99, Majestic. Bordeaux more than held its ground last year, but it's hugely schizophrenic with both bog-standard basic Bordeaux selling at Aldi in France for at €1.30 (£1) a bottle and also high-quality wines worthy of the château names like cherryish blackcurranty 2001 Château Domeyne, St Estephe, £14.99, Marks & Spencer.

Also on an upward curve last year were Côtes de Provence, Côtes du Ventoux and Vins de Pays, the latter thanks to wines of the quality of the aromatic, smooth and richly blackcurranty 2006 Domaine Saint Rose, Le Soleil du Sud, Cabernet Syrah, Vin de Pays des Côtes de Thongue, £9.99, buy two = £7.99, Majestic. Beaujolais is up too, hopefully because drinkers are moving from nouveau to the real thing, such as Paul Beaudet's cherryish 2006 Saint Amour 'Aux Anges', £7.99, buy two = £6.99, Majestic, and Jean Foillard's traditional, almost burgundian, Morgon, Côte du Py, £12.99, Les Caves de Pyrène, Guildford (01483 538820).

Despite fine alternatives to Sancerre, such as the juicily herbaceous 2005 Le Clos du Pressoir, Menetou Salon, Joseph Mellot, £10.25, Corney & Barrow, London (020-7221 5122), the Loire Valley slid back. Côtes du Rhône too, which is hard to understand with fine Châteauneuf-du-Pape of the quality of the approachably modern Domaine de la Charbonnière, £17.95, Great Western Wine, Bath (01225 322810) or bright, spicy 2005 Domaine de Ferrand, £18.95, The Vine Trail, Bristol (0117-921 1770). Alsace and the Languedoc-Roussillon are also static, despite rustic wines such as the 2005 Chapoutier, Côtes du Roussillon, Bila Haut, around £7, Noel Young, Cambridge (01223 844744), Wimbledon Wine Cellars (020-8540 9979), Corney & Barrow. Will EU reforms allowing simpler grape variety and vintage on the label – due 1 August – help underperforming regions buck the trend? French fingers will be crossed.

Suggested Topics
Sport
wimbledonScot will face Ivo Karlovic next
Sport
football
News
Hillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

    Recruitment Genius: Transportation Contracting Manager

    £33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Recruitment Genius: Payroll and Benefits Co-ordinator

    £22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...

    Day In a Page

    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test