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by Diogenes Wednesday, Apr. 30, 2003 at 8:18 AM

The funny thing about the anti-French fever that has swept through the U.S. over the last month is that it has produced an unusual buying opportunity in nice French wines. The 2000 Bordeaux is much admired as the best year in two decades.


by Chris DeHaemer

April 29, 2003

The funny thing about the anti-French fever that has swept through the U.S. over the last month is that it has produced an unusual buying opportunity in nice French wines. The 2000 Bordeaux is much admired as the best year in two decades.

The magazine 'Wine Spectator' (or should we call it 'Wine Speculator'?) had this to say about Chateau Leoville Las Cases St.-Julien 2000: 'Absolutely fantastic. This is one of the most exciting young reds I have tasted in a long, long time. Las Cases has always wanted to make first-growth quality in a top-notch vintage, and it certainly did in 2000. Best after 2012. Collectible.'...5.00 per bottle.

Last week, even those usually inclined to scoff at the pretentious claptrap of gourmets and food aficionados might have been tempted to buy a case or two of 2000 Bordeaux...which they could find heaped in the bargain barrel beside the door at the local spirit merchant, selling for 25% discounts...

As France-bashing spilled from late-night comedy shows across the United States following the French government's theoretical "support" for Saddam Hussein's Iraq, France's wine exports to the U.S. fell noticeably in March. Wine exports to the U.S. in 2002 were almost .5 billion. This week, wine producers are holding emergency meetings in Paris.

Before the most recent incarnation of the Gulf War, about 40% of Maison Latour's wine was shipped to America from its vineyards in Bourgogne. The nascent U.S. boycott has seen sales drop by up to 15%.

The downturn in March exports of French wines has yet to be documented in official statistics. But unofficial numbers bandied about by individual exporters indicate that the upward trend witnessed during the first two months of the year - when exports rose 16% to 7 million - will not continue.

If you're stocking or replenishing a wine cellar, here's the opportunistic thing to do: buy 2000 Bordeaux. In ten years, nobody will remember this bit of Gaullist arrogance and the wine will be in short supply to boot...with all that noble stuff swilled by backyard barbeque boobs who bought it in the bargain bin and stretched it with sugar and seltzer for homemade wine coolers.

This line of thinking led me to search for French exporters that have been flustered by the Francophobe fad. A backbreaking and intensive search revealed this list of companies (actually, I found it in my inbox, originally compiled by NewsMax):

* Air France. Air Liquide. Airbus. Alcatel. Allegra (allergy medication). Aqualung (including: Spirotechnique, Technisub, U.S. Divers, and SeaQuest). AXA Advisors.

* Bank of the West in California (owned by BNP Paribas). Beneteau (boats). BF Goodrich (owned by Michelin). BIC (razors, pens and lighters). Biotherm (cosmetics). Bollinger (champagne). Please note: Bank of the West, Irving, TX, is locally owned and operated, and is not affiliated with Bank of the West in California.

* Car and Driver magazine. Chanel. Chivas Regal (scotch). Christian Dior. Club Med (vacations). Crown Royal Canadian Whiskey (Seagram).

* Dannon (yogurt and dairy foods). Dom Perignon. Durand Crystal.

* Elle magazine. Essilor Optical Products. Evian (which, read backwards, spells "naïve").

* Givenchy.

* Hennessy.

* Jacobs Creek (owned by Pernod Ricard since 1989). Jerry Springer (talk show).

* Krups (coffee and cappuccino makers).

* Lancôme. Le Creuset (cookware). L'Oréal (health and beauty products). Louis Vuitton.

* Martel Cognac. Maybelline. Michelin (tires and auto parts). Mikasa (crystal and glass). Moët (champagne). Motel 6. Motown Records.

* Peugeot (automobiles). Pinault - Printemps - Redoute (Guicci, Yves Saint Laurent). ProScan (owned by Thomson Electronics, France). Publicis Group (including Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising and Leo Burnett Worldwide).

* RCA (televisions and electronics, owned by Thomson Electronics). Red Roof Inns (owned by Accor group in France). Renault (automobiles). Road & Track magazine. Roquefort cheese (all Roquefort cheese is made in France). Rowenta (toasters, irons, coffee makers, etc.).

* Sierra Software and Computer Games. Smart & Final. Sofitel (hotels, owned by Accor). Sparkletts (water, owned by Danone). Spencer Gifts.

* Tefal (kitchenware). Technicolor.

* UbiSoft (computer games). Uniroyal. Universal Studios (music, movies and amusement parks, owned by Vivendi- Universal). USFilter.

* Veritas Group. Veuve Clicquot Champagne. Vittel. Vivendi.

* Wild Turkey (bourbon). Woman's Day magazine.

* Yoplait (French company Sodiaal owns a 50% stake).

* Zodiac inflatable boats.

I don't know about you, but the fact that 'Road & Track' magazine AND Wild Turkey are French-owned is wrong. Very, very wrong.

That said, none of these companies offered ways to monetize the American backlash against French stuff. In fact, the Paris CAC 40 index has climbed from 2,400 to 2,903 since the first week of March, thereby proving once again the major moral component of film noir - there is no poetic justice.

Make money, not war.

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Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 4 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
I just love... Diogenes Wednesday, Apr. 30, 2003 at 8:19 AM
Diogenes Wibur the pig Wednesday, Apr. 30, 2003 at 9:10 AM
Aw Fuck Off... Diogenes Wednesday, Apr. 30, 2003 at 6:30 PM
Diogenes Wilbur the pig Thursday, May. 01, 2003 at 7:47 AM

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