Posts Tagged ‘French Wine Scandal not discerned by U.S. Wine Buyers or Consumers’

French Pinot Noir Scandal Went Undetected by American Wine Buyers or Consumers

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

Pinot Noir FraudFrench Pinot Noir Scandal . . .

Key French wine executives were convicted Wednesday of selling 18 million bottles (13.5 million liters) of falsely labeled wine to the largest producer of wine in the world E&J Gallo at an inflated price. The wine was ultimately sold under E&J’s ubiquitous “Red Bicyclette” Pinot Noir label, which was described as exhibiting “dark fruit aromas and flavors of black cherry and ripe plum”. In handing down the sentences, the French judge said, “the scale of the fraud caused severe damage for the wines of the Languedoc for which the United States is an important outlet.”
A lawyer for two of the defendants argued that there was no harm, since “not a single American consumer complained.” This doesn’t say much for the American consumer’s ability to discern between such different grape varieties, and even less for the professionalism of the buyers from E&J Gallo who could not tell the difference between the radically different flavors of Pinot, Merlot or Shiraz grapes. A lawyer for three other defendants took a different route, arguing that the wines had Pinot Noir characteristics.
In 2001 the Mondavi company of California was forced by local wine producers to abandon a plan to produce a quality wine in the region after local opponents accused it of planning to make “McDonald’s-style” New World Wines there.

The Languedoc and Roussillon wines from the South-west of France have shown tremendous improvement in quality over the past decade, and they remain a great source of high-value wine at reasonable prices.