May 11, 2006
Bordeaux bound...sort of

Soon after this gets posted Friday morning I'll be on my way to San Francisco, not with Giants/Dodgers tickets in my wallet but hope in my heart. I'm feeling sorry for the French, and I'd like to help them out. Their grape growers and winemakers are reeling. Not only are international sales of their wines down, the French themselves are drinking less of their own wine. Vineyards are being plowed under and wine is being distilled into industrial alcohol. The French are so desperate to rescue their wine trade they're adopting American winemaking methods, like using wood chips to flavor wine rather than age it in more traditional - and expensive - barrels.

But gamely, the French are trying to rally. A bunch of them from Bordeaux are to be in San Francisco today, pouring tastes of 100 wines they think Americans will find flavorful and "affordable," the latter a whole new concept for Bordeaux wine marketers, who up to now have delighted in boasting that their wines are the dearest on the planet. They define "affordable," incidentally, as wines in the $8 to $25 range, taking in the most highly competitive price niches in the trade these days.

Well, I'll see what kind of flavor and value these wines offer, then report back Monday.

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