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
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Bruce, left, with Cream bandmates Ginger Rogers, centre, and Eric Clapton in 1967
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
News
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
arts + entsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
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

    Junior Application Support Engineer (ERP / SSRS)

    £23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

    IT Systems Analyst / Application Support Engineer (ERP / SSRS)

    £23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

    SCRUM Master

    £30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...

    Franchise Support Assistant

    £13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...

    Day In a Page

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

    Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

    The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
    Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

    Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

    The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
    DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

    Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

    Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
    The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

    Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

    The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

    The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
    Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

    Paul Scholes column

    I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
    Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker