Thursday, June 18, 2009

They should be blushing

In what is described as a victory for traditionalists and a blow to the globalization trend, the European Union has reversed itself "and decreed that the cut-rate technique of mixing red wine with white does not make an authentic rose and thus cannot be used by Europe's winemakers."

Why does this have to decided by the EU and made a decree, the defiance of which becomes a crime?

I love wine and I think I understand the traditionalists. Proper Rose is made by allowing the grape skins to be in the juice for just a precise, brief moment or two of time, then letting the fermentation process proceed. Blending an acceptable whjite with an acceptable red is cheaper, but it doesn't produce the same clarity, the same delicate color. The EU agricultural poohbahs had been ready to permit it so the cheaper product could be marketed so as to compete with down-market roses from Australia and South Africa.

Since the Europeans have such long traditions about how wines can be named, what would have been wrong with creating a category labeled honestly as something like "blended Rose." But mainly, why does the EU have to make the decision for all of Europe. Couldn't cooperatives or associations have handled the problem. Or is the French disease so advanced that the folks think you can only settle things by having the State, or a Megastate, decide?

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