France should leave ‘industrial’ wines to the New World - Mas
Tuesday 29 September
Making big volume wines and trying to compete with the New World at low prices is not the way forward for France.
Speaking to the ever-passionate Jean-Claude Mas today, it was clear that despite the creation of the new vin de France which allows inter-regional blending, wines aimed at the mass market are not what France needs.
He said, “You have to be realistic. For example, if you want to make cheap leather goods you make them in Korea or China. If you want to make industrial-scale wines you make them in Chile, Argentina or South Africa where the costs are much lower. This is not suitable for the Languedoc. We are unable to make good quality wines at high yields. It would only reinvent the bad days of 30 years ago.”
While we don’t want to go back to the past of insipid reds and an overflowing wine lake, many would disagree with this, saying France should compete and the rise of inter-regional blending could create much more powerful brands, which win back some of France’s dwindling market share.
Mas doesn’t see this as a winning strategy for France or the Languedoc. If it wants to be viewed as the best wine producer in the world, it should let the New World do what it excels at while France should aim at the £5.99 and above market and, concentrate on quality.
This is probably unrealistic. France can make good value wines at entry level and it should be allowed to do it. If people are introduced to decent French quaffers at the start of their wine drinking life, it is likely they would be happy to work their way up the price ladder within the French category. At the moment a £5 French wine usually disappoints. Hopefully the creation of vin de France might see them competing with the likes of Gallo?
As an aside Gina Gallo has finally married Jean-Claude Boisset. I’m looking forward to a white Zin/Pinot blend in tetra pak sometime soon.