Monday, October 16, 2006

Beaujolais bad for the brain?

Beaujolais to benefit from UK, US and Japanese marketing campaign

According to research carried out for the Beaujolais region, the people most susceptible to enjoy its wines (and the ones who'll presumably be the targets of the marketing) are 40+ femails who "appreciate fruity wines which are easy to drink on all occasions". I read this shortly after coming across a letter to the Guardian that included a bright riposte to David Cameron's statement that he stood "for optimism". The writer referred to something called "the opposite test" which requires you, whenever you hear any kind of portentious claim, to ask yourself whether anyone would ever say the opposite. If not, the claim can be declared vacuous. Clearly none of Mr Cameron's opponents would want to stand for pessimism, but how many non 40+ femails would be out there specifically asking for fruitless wines that are rarely easy to drink? The Beaujolais researchers should take a look at - or perhaps a taste of - the kinds of wines 30 year old men and women enjoy drinking. They are all, more or less, fruity and easy to drink, and they bear labels like Californian White zinfandel, Chilean Merlot, Vin de Pays d'Oc Chardonnay and Australian Shiraz.

Beaujolais's problem has been one of variable quality, over-pricing and rotten brand-management. Its name is now, for all but a few (of us) who love it, debased and old fashioned. But the researchers are right in believing that there's nothing wrong with the style. The sensible solution to many of Beaujolais's woes - and the one that would long ago have occurred to a New World wine company - would be to relaunch at least some of the wines under a different name. Instead, the region and the French government are about to spend millions of euros on trying to explain the difference between Beaujolais and Beaujolais Villages and between both of these and Brouilly and Cote de Brouilly. And on uprooting large swathes of redundant vines.

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