Architectural theorist David Gissen has recently been travelling through France to learn about wine. His dedicated Twitter account @100aocs has attracted the attention of sommeliers, importers, and winemakers. Edible Geography caught up with Gissen to discuss wine, wine culture, geography, and Gissen's re-thought wine map of France based on Metro maps such as London's Tube map. How Wine Became Metropolitan: An Interview with David Gissen.
"I don't think the chief of police drinks water when he's having a meal." Members of the Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité, the French riot police, are up in arms about a new regulation forbidding them to drink alcohol during the workday. The ban is said to be a reaction to widely publicized photos of riot police drinking beer while policing a high-school student demonstration in Perreux-sur-Marne.
Some time this month, French wine will once again be transported by sail. As the Guardian reports today, French vineyards concerned about climate change are about to make life much easier for oenophiles wishing to reduce their carbon footprint. Later this month, the Belem, a 19th century barque will sail from Languedoc to Dublin with 60,000 bottles of Bordeaux. [more inside]
Kiwi Actually French: Film At 11. The French wine industry is notably protective of domestic producers' rights to use terms like Champagne and Burgundy, both geographic indications of areas of France. The Institut National des Appellation d’Origine even protested against the US registration of the trademark Goats do Roam (sounding similar to Côtes du Rhône). Now one winemaker, Lacheteau, which sells French wine under the brand Kiwi Cuvee, has successfully scared off a New Zealand winery from using the "Kiwi" appelation in the EU.
Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé, but the wine's popularity has more to do with clever marketing than the quality of the wine itself. "Why it was decided to make the region's humblest juice—a wine mainly borne of its worst vineyards, a wine barely removed from the fermentation vat, a wine that is nothing more than pleasantly tart barroom swill—its international standard bearer is a question that will undoubtedly puzzle marketing students for generations to come."
The Night They Invented Champagne... Tonight's the night for Champagne. Meaning French. No other is as appropriate or necessary. If you know nothing - or a lot - about this most pleasant and aphrodisiac of all wines, you should still get more serious about it. The Champagne Growers' Association has an excellent website where you can learn how to chill, open, serve and properly taste Champagne. They'll even send you four free, attractive little notebooks to keep in your cocktail cabinet. The green roll-down menus are all enlightening and to the point. But don't think the French have all the experts. There's this amazing American website, called IntoWine, put up by the M2 Communications Wine Education Center, which is just as wise and, typically, more complete and snobbish. Their Champagne section is faultless. Compare cultures by noting how they serve Champagne. Check out their full list of Champagne houses and related movies. Happy New Year, MetaFilter!