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cuvee and meritage?

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Re: cuvee and meritage?

by Hoke » Thu Jan 25, 2007 3:37 pm

but you seem to be saying I can't state my position because others have a different one.


Oh, no. I'm not saying that at all. What I'm saying is that there is a certain weight carried by usage that doesn't coincide with your particular accepted usage (and yes, by "you" I mean the UK/EU. A simple blind assertion by the EU that such is so does not necessarily mean that such is indeed so. Eventually even the most autocratic and bureucratic of governmental bodies succumbs to the will of the people, and to change.

I am not arguing with you about what the EU/UK maintain by their dictates, Peter. I'm simply saying that doesn't make it the final arbiter. Or even, perhaps the most appropriate one. The argument that "This word is ours because we used it first, so we can say it means whatever we want to say it means and you can't use it, or disagree with us" is questionable to me. The word will be defined by how people choose to use it, and that may well be (probably will be) not at all how the bureucrats (get it? burEUcrats?} decree it to be. Or not to be, I guess. :wink:

But , no, I'm certainly not denying your opinion and your right to state it. Heck, that's what makes this place go round and round.

You are quite correct that others have over the years used claret to mean other things. But others have used Champagne and Burgundy to mean other things and yet that they should be protected isn't being argued against (Hell if anyone wants to, please start another thread, cos this one is busy right now)


Um...bit of faulty reasoning there isn't it, when you equate two things that you clearly say are not the same two things? You Artful Dodger, you. :)

And when you say that only a small group of wine lovers in jolly old blighty use the term, that is not the issue; the point is that the word when applied to wine has that specific legal meaning in the EU. So when I state it is red Bordeaux, I am stating what UK and EU law says.


Amd my point in return is that a small, and pointedly regional/parochial, group cannot prevent usage from occuring as it will. And I seriously question, strictly in the sense of claret as a word, that it has any authority to attempt to do so. Not that that has ever stopped an official body of 'crats. , mind you. :wink:

Okay, you guys passed a "law". It's your law, not mine. And in the grand American tradition, I'll choose to obey the law only if it suits me. :twisted:
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

by Bob Ross » Thu Jan 25, 2007 5:42 pm

"Liptons were trying their umpteenth relaunch of the miserable stuff by giving away cans outside a supermarket. The marketing team were so despondent because no-one was taking them that I accepted the thrust out offering."

Boy, they would have had many takers here, Peter. And others that would tell the folks handing out the Liptons why six other brands were better.

I'm not much of a cola/soda/pop drinker, but do like a couple of bottled ice teas -- Snapple's Unsweetened Peach is very filling. There's an amazing diversity -- it caught on during the St Louis World Fair at the turn of the century and never looked back.

Aged iced tea in bottle -- I'll pass thanks.

Regards, Bob
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

by Bob Ross » Thu Jan 25, 2007 6:29 pm

"... the wine trade said, well hold on, we've been using the word claret since the year dot. And after all, the vineyards of Bordeaux were English."

Thanks Peter. As I've mentioned several times, I am interested in several aspects of this question -- Shaw put it well when he asked why it is that the English call the wine "claret" when all the rest of the world know it as the Wine of Bordeaux. See his discussion here.

He expressly rejects the clairet theory, and advances the theory that it came from a corruption of the name of a shipping point further up the river that only English ships could reach.

Robinson/Unwin support the clairet theory, but surprisingly rely on two French sources for their entry in the Oxford 2d and 3rd.

I'm sure the answers to both questions would be very interesting if it can be -- or already has been -- teased out.

The EU rules and regs are interesting, but in view of the US/EU trade agreement only of practical import for US firms that are grandfathered for the use of the name "Claret" in the EU.

I must admit that from time to time I catch myself up thinking about Graeme's point: how can the name of a style of wine be protected under a system designed to protect place names -- but as a lawyer I appreciate the value of legal fictions -- and try to forget that point.

In any event, from time to time I'll add some more data points -- this has turned out to be a most enjoyable bit of "research". Thanks for contributing to the fun.

Regards, Bob
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

by James Roscoe » Thu Jan 25, 2007 7:00 pm

Bob Ross wrote:"... the wine trade said, well hold on, we've been using the word claret since the year dot. And after all, the vineyards of Bordeaux were English."

Thanks Peter. As I've mentioned several times, I am interested in several aspects of this question -- Shaw put it well when he asked why it is that the English call the wine "claret" when all the rest of the world know it as the Wine of Bordeaux. See his discussion here.

He expressly rejects the clairet theory, and advances the theory that it came from a corruption of the name of a shipping point further up the river that only English ships could reach.

Robinson/Unwin support the clairet theory, but surprisingly rely on two French sources for their entry in the Oxford 2d and 3rd.

I'm sure the answers to both questions would be very interesting if it can be -- or already has been -- teased out.

The EU rules and regs are interesting, but in view of the US/EU trade agreement only of practical import for US firms that are grandfathered for the use of the name "Claret" in the EU.

I must admit that from time to time I catch myself up thinking about Graeme's point: how can the name of a style of wine be protected under a system designed to protect place names -- but as a lawyer I appreciate the value of legal fictions -- and try to forget that point.

In any event, from time to time I'll add some more data points -- this has turned out to be a most enjoyable bit of "research". Thanks for contributing to the fun.

Regards, Bob


What the heck is going on with this thread? You guys are set to make this the longest "non-game" thread in WLDG history. I also don't get how Bob turned his entire response into a link. That is very interesting. Perhaps more interesting than the claret debate. :roll: Keep having fun guys! I'll check this thread out again when it reaches 16 pages. Have you addressed the original question by the way?
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

by Gary Barlettano » Thu Jan 25, 2007 7:11 pm

I stumbled across the following on bordeaux.com: "Taking their name from the English term "French Claret" which was used to describe Bordeaux wines in the Middles Ages due to their light colour, the Bordeaux Clairets AOC perpetuates this tradition with its light, red wines." The referring page is here: Bordeaux Clairet. This would seem to be a case of reverse osmosis with the English "claret" giving birth to the French "clairet." Now, this website is run by the CIVB which is Le Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux, a private association with a public interest under the responsibility of the Ministère de l'Agriculture and is subject to financial control by the State. The French government can't be wrong, n'est-ce pas? :roll:
Last edited by Gary Barlettano on Thu Jan 25, 2007 7:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
And now what?
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

by Bob Ross » Thu Jan 25, 2007 7:13 pm

I didn't have time to proof read before running off to the store for some white bread, James. I made the mistake of closing tags after my signature, rather than where I wanted to.

Now well breaded, I've deleted the code for closing the link, and inserted another one where it belongs.

Maria seems very well satisfied with our answers to the original question although we are still waiting to learn whether the US/EU trade deal prohibits the use of "Meritage" in the EU.

Regards, Bob
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

by Maria Samms » Thu Jan 25, 2007 9:19 pm

Bob Ross wrote:Maria seems very well satisfied with our answers to the original question


I am :D !
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

by Bob Ross » Thu Jan 25, 2007 10:18 pm

Wow! This is real news. Julia Harding is an assistant to Jancis Robinson; Julia has been helping me figure out the EU rules on "claret".

Julia Harding (Mission Control) (03:45 PM - Jan 24, 2007)

And this hot from the EU press office:

"CLARET is a protected term used exclusively for a very light red wine from Bordeaux.

CLAIRET can refer to a very light red wine from either Burgundy or Bordeaux. Cf CLARETE in Spain.

"BUT the CLARET as described above is a far lighter product than the type of Bordeaux the British mean when they say 'claret', ie tannic reds with ageing potential."

"So, the protected term is not the British colloquial usage, which is not protected..."


****

I'm starting to think the US trade negotiators gave away the store on that grandfathering deal. I'm certain that US winemakers who use the "Claret" label invariably produce a very dark red (i.e. claret) wine.

Regards, Bob
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

by Thomas » Thu Jan 25, 2007 10:28 pm

Bob Ross wrote:Wow! This is real news. Julia Harding is an assistant to Jancis Robinson; Julia has been helping me figure out the EU rules on "claret".

Julia Harding (Mission Control) (03:45 PM - Jan 24, 2007)

And this hot from the EU press office:

"CLARET is a protected term used exclusively for a very light red wine from Bordeaux.

CLAIRET can refer to a very light red wine from either Burgundy or Bordeaux. Cf CLARETE in Spain.

"BUT the CLARET as described above is a far lighter product than the type of Bordeaux the British mean when they say 'claret', ie tannic reds with ageing potential."

"So, the protected term is not the British colloquial usage, which is not protected..."


****

I'm starting to think the US trade negotiators gave away the store on that grandfathering deal. I'm certain that US winemakers who use the "Claret" label invariably produce a very dark red (i.e. claret) wine.

Regards, Bob


If this is the case, the EU would not be protecting what Peter thinks it is protecting.
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

by Bob Ross » Thu Jan 25, 2007 10:29 pm

Thanks, Gary.

The EU press office in London gave us some info that is entirely consistent with this information. The protected "Claret" means a light red wine, much lighter than what people mean colloquially by "Claret" in the UK [and in the US for that matter].

Based on my original researches to date, both the EU and the CIVB got it right.

[Shoot -- supporting the governments of France and the UK -- that doesn't sound like the Bob Ross I've grown to know over the years. :) ]

Thanks again. Bob
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

by Bob Ross » Thu Jan 25, 2007 10:58 pm

Thomas, help me out here. Could you give me an example of a light red Bordeaux? Are they talking about a rosé?

Up above I posted a link to Extremely Pale Rosé: A Very French Adventure By Jamie Ivey. He discusses a conversation with one Esme Johnstone.

[Esme was surly according to Ivey, having just given up smoking cigarettes.]

****

Esme explained that the word 'clairet' was historically used to distinguish the light-red wines of Bordeaux from the heavier reds made in other wine producing areas. Over time Bordeaux produced more robust reds and clairet became a forgotten wine, but the English continued to use the word to describe all red wines made from the Bordeaux region. The pronunciation gradually changed to 'claret'. Then with the reinvention of Clairet de Quinsac, the problems started.

For example, his rosé was tipped in all UK wine guides as one of the best rosés available and his annual production was around 10,000 bottles, of which he'd already sold the majority. Producing a bottle, he showed me the label, with Chateau de Sours inscribed in bold lettering above a crest of arms. Then Esme pointed to the bottom right hand corner where, in writing as invisible as the small print on a contract, was the word 'clairet'. Only the most observant UK consumer would have any idea that they were drinking anything other than a rosé, but the appellation rules required him to put it on the label.

'So is clairet a rosé or not?' we asked.

'Of course it's a f***ing rosé.

It's just one more almighty f***up by the Bordeaux AOC', clarified Esme, looking for his cigarettes. pages 134-35.


The Chateau de Sours website. The reviews are very, very good.

Robinson 2d indicates that the wines are not rosés: Dark pink wine style that is a speciality of the Bordeaux region, recalling the sort of red wines that were shipped in such quantity in the Middle Ages from Bordeaux to England, and which originally inspired the English word claret. Dark-skinned grapes are fermented in contact with the skins for about 24 hours before fermentation of this lightly coloured wine continues to dryness. Small quantities of potentially refreshing wine are bottled to be sold under the appellation Bordeaux Clairet, and should be drunk as young as possible. It is said to have originated in Quinsac in the Premières Côtes de Bordeaux.
Last edited by Bob Ross on Fri Jan 26, 2007 12:15 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Jan 25, 2007 11:31 pm

Well Bob, you even have me going now and I have old wine books all over the floor!! One in particular, "Notes on a Cellar-Book" by George Saintsbury a well-known man of letters and authority on the art of good living!!
Chapter 4. Claret and Burgundy. 2nd paragraph, I did not begin my cellar at a very good time (the latest seventies and eighties) for Claret of the best class. The great `58`s....were very dear, not very plentiful and getting a trifle old.
He then goes on to talk about the `71 Lafite, `84 Haut-Brion, `58 Margaux. He continues..." I once brought some magnums of `75 Mouton-Rothschild....moderate price...I need hardly tell anyone who knows claret- history what it turned out to be.

Surprise here now, on the next page he talks about..a "bastard " Lafites, to borrow, without impoliteness, the term applied technically to lower class Montrachet-Lafite-Carruades- which had been originally bottled in or for Ireland.....Irish claret.

One very much preferred it to what one used to be called "Scotch claret" a generous and potent...liquor, sold without name of vineyard and suggesting a considerable admixture of the black wines of Cahors or there abouts.

Page 54.....if Claret is the queen of natural wines, Burgundy is the king.

Just my 2cents worth I guess, back to feeding the horses!!!
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

by Bob Ross » Fri Jan 26, 2007 1:36 am

Thanks, Bob. I had forgotten George Saintsbury. He is one more authority supporting the proposition that wine from Bordeaux was often mixed with wines from other areas of France to create a Bordeaux wine.

His discussions of "Scottish Bordeaux" and "Irish Bordeaux" are also very interesting. There were certainly two levels of Bordeaux exported into Scotland -- the very best, in part because of the historically close relationship between France and Scotland. The great majority of that level of Bordeaux was smuggled into Scotland to avoid ruinous duties designed to force the Scots to drink Port.

A couple of the sources I've found discussed another level of Bordeaux that sold quite cheaply and because of its method of transport was probably not a red wine, but white, and from Gascony and the Languedoc, although it passed through the City of Bordeaux and was called variously French or Bordeaux.

Some of this type of Bordeaux was also imported into Ireland. But there are a number of references to wine that had been spoiled in the cellars of Bordeaux and London being exported to Ireland for sale there.

All very fascinating reading I must say. Thanks for reminding me.

Regards, Bob
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

by Bob Ross » Fri Jan 26, 2007 1:43 am

I've been puzzling over the information from the press office of the EU in London about the protected Claret. The enabling legislation appears in the Official Journal of the European Union, 17 sept 05, ie: COMMISSION REGULATION (EC) No 1512/2005 of 15 September 2005 amending Regulation (EC) No 753/2002 laying down certain rules for applying Council Regulation (EC) No 1493/1999 as regards the description, designation, presentation and protection of certain
wine sector products.

p 241/29 of this document lists ‘claret’ as a protected ‘traditional expression’ within Bordeaux.

I hadn't focused on the words as a lawyer, but have been able to determine from a friend who tries to make sense of EU rules for a living that I missed the significance of the "within Bordeaux" wording. He says that the name of the wine must be tied to the physical location where the grapes are grown under the general principles of place at work in the EU for all protected names. Thus "Clairet" and its English language equivalent "Claret" are limited to wines that are known "within Bordeaux" by those names.

Other, darker types of Bordeaux, were not named Claret "within Bordeaux" and thus that name for those wines is not protected. "Vin de Bordeaux", of course, would be so protected on the same analysis.

Regards, Bob
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Jan 26, 2007 2:36 am

Thanks Bob.......George Saintsbury is de man!! There is a whole bunch of other interesting stuff I will post here reference claret. His letters are very apt for this thread eh

There is also some informative thoughts on Hock!!! Bob R, see what you have started!!!!!!
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

by Steve Slatcher » Fri Jan 26, 2007 10:03 am

Bob Ross wrote:[Saintsbury's]discussions of "Scottish Bordeaux" and "Irish Bordeaux" are also very interesting. There were certainly two levels of Bordeaux exported into Scotland -- the very best, in part because of the historically close relationship between France and Scotland. The great majority of that level of Bordeaux was smuggled into Scotland to avoid ruinous duties designed to force the Scots to drink Port.

Was it Saintsbury saying that was the purpose of the duties? And were the duties imposed only on Scotland? I am certainly aware of high duties on French wine, compared to those on Port for example, but did not realise that the British government was targeting Scottish drinkers.
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

by Thomas » Fri Jan 26, 2007 10:11 am

Bob,

Don't know if you've already posted this--and I ain't going back to look! But, page 273 of Shaw's second edition he quotes professor Francois-Michele, a Bordeaux historian: "...the name is stated to be dervied from clare (accent over the e)--a drink prepared in Bordeaux for the English when they possessed that district."

Seems he is saying that claret developed from a concoction that only the British drank.
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

by Bob Ross » Fri Jan 26, 2007 10:39 am

Steve, there's a short summary by the BBC of the relationship between the two countries, especially the wine trade, http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/scottishhi ... ance.shtml

There's a wonderful history of the taxes imposed on wine over the years and centuries. There's a hint of the story at A History of Taxation and Taxes in England from the Earliest Times to the Year 1885 By Stephen Dowell

I don't have time to find all my support for the smuggling story this morning, but will find it in due course and post it here. Here's one note from The Legal Profession in Scotland
J. Dove Wilson, The Yale Law Journal, Vol. 5, No. 3 (Feb., 1896), pp. 109-121 "They continued, for they were a conservative race, to drink claret long after Lord Methven's taxation had driven other people to Port."

There's also a wonderful quote about how poisonous people in Scotland found Port, but I'm not seeing it in my notes looking quickly this morning, and I'm of pocket for a few days.

Regards, Bob
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

by Bob Ross » Fri Jan 26, 2007 10:48 am

Others have traced the word "claret" back to the word claré, a mixture of wine and honey. I'm pretty convinced, though, that the French "vin clairet" was the source of "claret" -- there are literally hundreds of French sources during the 1800s and 1900s translating "vin clairet" as "claret".

Explains I think why Unwin relies on French sources to describe the origin of "Claret" in the Oxford 2 -- I'll send him a note when I'm less pressed for time.

Thanks for the reminder -- don't think I posted the claré but there's a bit in the OED which supports Shaw's theory.

Thanks, Thomas.
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

by Steve Slatcher » Fri Jan 26, 2007 10:50 am

Thanks Bob. I don't doubt that the Scots disliked Port and smuggled Claret, but again my understand was that both the dislike and smuggling was a reality south of the border too. The Scots may well have enjoyed Claret more than the English at the time, but as I remember it the purpose of the tax was to hit French trade rather than Scottish drinkers.
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

by Bob Ross » Fri Jan 26, 2007 11:10 am

Agreed, Steve. Shaw is also very good on the smuggling point.

My memory is that the goal was to support the Portuguese throughout the UK; it worked fairly well but the upper classes, particularly in Scotland, drank a great deal of Bordeaux nonetheless. In a way, the Scots targeted themselves because of their preference for French wines.

I'm sorry I can't put my hands on the specifics, but I'll post a link to a good history here next week.

Regards, Bob
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

by Peter May » Sat Jan 27, 2007 2:20 pm

Bob Ross wrote:
I must admit that from time to time I catch myself up thinking about Graeme's point: how can the name of a style of wine be protected under a system designed to protect place names


Bob, that was the question I was discussing in my post that got Hoke fired up.
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

by Peter May » Sat Jan 27, 2007 2:34 pm

Bob Ross wrote:Wow! This is real news. Julia Harding is an assistant to Jancis Robinson; Julia has been helping me figure out the EU rules

"CLARET is a protected term used exclusively for a very light red wine from Bordeaux.

CLAIRET can refer to a very light red wine from either Burgundy or Bordeaux. Cf CLARETE in Spain.

"BUT the CLARET as described above is a far lighter product than the type of Bordeaux the British mean when they say 'claret', ie tannic reds with ageing potential."

"So, the protected term is not the British colloquial usage, which is not protected..."[/i]


Wow indeed!

So what is protected is a English word that is not used at all in France, and is not used in England in the meaning protected by the EU? So no-one uses it. What is the point?

And how does one define a colour that is darker than rose but 'far lighter' than regular Bordeaux?

Some cynics said at the time that the EU only listed claret with the intention of giving it up as a bargaining if push came to recall reading at the time.
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

by Peter May » Sat Jan 27, 2007 2:45 pm

Bob Ross wrote: He discusses a conversation with one Esme Johnstone.


Esme Johnstone is well known in the British wine trade as a founder and Managing Director of the very succesful Majestic Wine Warehouse chain who sold his share went off to buy Chateau de Sours, whose wines have since become a regular at Majestic.

And I am astounded to see on Ch de Sours website a photo of its Chief Executive Martin Krajewski, who I used to work with. Didn't he do well?
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