Wycliff Brut Champagne - Printable Version

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- Marita - 11-29-1999 01:40 AM

Does anyone know anything about this champagne? Good? Bad? Price per bottle?

- Jerry D Mead - 11-29-1999 10:20 AM

Don't know the price (though probably not expensive). Wycliff is a Gallo brand usually sold exclusively to restaurants so that people can't compare prices of retail vs restaurant mark-up. Doesn't mean it isn't good...that's just the marketing story.

- Thomas - 11-30-1999 09:56 AM

It also isn't champagne--it is sparkling wine....

- Jerry D Mead - 11-30-1999 11:14 AM

It may not be "Champagne," but it is champagne. The label says champagne, and it is legally labeled "California Champagne," a designation that has been used here for sparkling wines for more than 150 years, by brands as humble as Andre, as proud as Schramsberg.

- Thomas - 11-30-1999 05:05 PM

So, you took the bait, heh.

I know, the wine made and called champagne is also a process, well that logic means anyone who blends classic Bordeuax varieties to make a particular red wine can call it bordeuax with a small b--not in my book .

And I believe your reference to Andre and Schramsberg using the same word to describe two different products proves my point, not yours. The two sparkling wines are not made the same way, and one of them does not use the traditional champagne method, so why are they referred to as the same thing?

I don't care how many years it has been abused, Champagne is a place as is California, Napa, Finger Lakes, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Oregon, Ohio. Sparkling wine is a wine.

- Jerry D Mead - 12-01-1999 09:52 AM

The difference between champagne, Bordeaux, California, Napa and other place names, is that champagne has become an internationally generic term for sparkling wine.

In the same way that aspirin and linoleum (once both were brand names) lost brand rights due to common usage, so has champagne. And do you expect every Philly Cheesesteak to be shipped in from that Eastern city? Is every Weinerschnitzel made only in Wein (Vienna). And when one is in Paris and served a Cafe we expect it to be imported from the U.S.? And what about French fries?

When you see a sports figure being doused with one says..."Oh look! He's getting a Napa Valley Brut bath." You know what they say, no matter the origin of the wine.

- Thomas - 12-01-1999 10:59 AM

JDM, your argument, while accurate, does not justify the theft of a name. Talk to those companies who lost their brand names; many have a team of lawyers scouring us writers to be sure we do not use brand names loosely like in the old days.

I have a proposal to make: let's drop the Meritage nomenclature and call those wines bordeaux, with a small b. Perhaps, if we get away with it, after 100 years you can make the same argument for that place name ripoff.

French fries is not a place; Philly-style steak is preferable, ad infinitum....

- Thomas - 12-01-1999 11:01 AM

Incidentally, I always use the term "deep fried potatoes."

- Scoop - 12-02-1999 12:11 PM

Appellation as to origin and geographic indications for wines and spirits have always been treated more casually on this side of the Atlantic. Especially so with Champagne (and "Chablis" and "Burgundy" for that matter). But in Europe, such indications are serious business (e.g. for sparkling wines, one cannot even say "champagne method" -- it has to be labeled "traditional method")and the "origin" of international trade spats. For example, a trade agreement between the European Union and South Africa is currently held up because the EU (and Spain and Portugal in particular) cannot abide the South African use of "Port" and "Sherry" for "fortified wines" produced there.

"Champagne" has been an issue between the Europeans and the US as well. In spirits, some mutual recognition of geographic indications has already taken place (e.g. Scotch Whisky, Cognac, Tennessee Whiskey). On wine, the US and the EU have until 2003 to wrap up an agreement on transatlantic trade in wine, taking into account the different oenological practices and different definitions of appellation as to origin. The treatment of Champagne will be front and center.

We all are guilty of using champagne as a generic term, and legislation won't prevent it from continuing. Nevertheless, the US wine industry could do the right thing and phase out the use of "Champagne" labelling on bottles as a matter of respect. If the Italians and Germans can do it, so can the Californians.



- Jerry D Mead - 12-02-1999 03:40 PM

I have never argued on behalf of chablis and burgundy, because they are not generic names. They are not universally used and understood terms indicating a particular style of wine.

Re Europe taking these names so much more serious...that and the ban on the use of the "methode champenoise" terminology (ridiculous, by the way) are recent events since the forming of the EU.

And Port...isn't even a place's a name given the wines by the English, much as they called the wines of Bordeaux, claret. Since there is no other single word to describe this style of wine, it seems to me that Port should be the universal generic term used by whomever...and Porto or Oporto reserved for the Portuguese.

The idea of starting to call claret style wines Bordeaux now to give them generic status a hundred years from now is an absurd argument, because once again it could not become generic because there are scads of words to describe red wine types.

Champagne and Port are unique not only in their universal genric use for 150 years or so, but because even if you legislate against them they will continue to be used because there are simply no other words available to replace them. It's the equivalent of trying to get people everywhwere to stop saying "Taxi" and start saying "car & driver for hire." You could pass a law saying that cabbies can't print Taxi on the their cars, but you are not going to stop people from calling them that.

My favorite Champagne/champagne story was at Domaine Chandon in the early days. The VP/GM had just given us the grand tour, emphasizing that they were owned by a French firm, but they weren't making Champagne, or even trying to make a product that tasted like Champagne. Champagne was a place and they were making Napa Valley Brut and that was that. At the end of the tour...same guy says: "Well, you ready to go drink some champagne now?" And he wasn't talking about something from across the pond. Hell, even the champenoise can't refrain from using the term genericly and they themselves use terms with one letter different for their brands in South America and South Africa.

But this is one of those never ending arguments. I well understand the view of the purists. I feel like my position is one of common sense. The French should have fought to protect the name 150 years ago. They still have Roquefort, after all.

- Thomas - 12-02-1999 03:59 PM

JDM, I often agree with you, especially on libertarian-slanted matters, but I shall not allow you to make the claim that your champagne argument even comes close to common sense. Your argument skirts the relevant issues and your only defense is that there is a 150-year tradition of theft to back up the generic use of the word.

That ain't no common sense argument to me, that is an argument of accommodation, which I never suspected was in you.

But, as you say, it is a never-ending argument and we might as well just stop before one of us actually goes over to the other side--that would be you, of course.

[Note: This message has been edited by Jackie]

- tomstevenson - 12-06-1999 05:53 PM

Well said Foodie. You can forgive immigrants 150 years ago from using any name to describe a wine, but not the present day citizens of the most sophisticated nation on earth. You come from the homeland, you make a wine with grapes from a vine that might not even be familiar to you, but you make it in a style that you know and want. What style your customers ask. Why Champagne sir! Or Bordeaux or Burgundy or Chablis or whatever. Fine 150 years ago, but come on Curmy, you're grown up now, America's grown up now and some of your wines (particularly from California, Washington and Oregon) are world class. They DON'T DESERVE this s**t.

- Jerry D Mead - 12-07-1999 05:53 PM

I agree for every name you mention except champagne and port, which I continue to insist are generic, and that national or state qualifiers (as in California Champagne) make perfectly clear where the wines originate.

And it wasn't really theft 150 years ago, because the champenoise didn't really start complaining until the last 20-30 years. You don't wait a 120 years to say "I've been robbed" and then ask for your property back.

I'm sure the folks who invented "aspirin" would like their name back too.

- Jerry D Mead - 12-07-1999 05:56 PM

P.S. You guys will win in the end, because our government will eventually negotiate the right to the name away in exchange for a lower subsidy on soy beans or something.

- Thomas - 12-08-1999 09:20 AM

I knew you'd come over sooner or later!!!!

Our side has the stronger argument, and that is why government will make a deal for soy beans, or possibly frogs' legs.

- Scoop - 12-08-1999 02:53 PM

Of course, those soybeans (or frog legs) better not be genetically modified!

- gldyfox - 12-14-2003 05:28 PM

I don't know how much it cost but I do like it.It was served at my wedding in Jamacia and i did not get one complaint.Maybe because they served so much of it!! Worth a try...

- Kcwhippet - 12-14-2003 06:09 PM

The Wm. Wycliff usually goes for about $10 a bottle in restaurants and for weddings - really cheap stuff.

- Botafogo - 12-14-2003 06:14 PM

Man, you guys drag up a four year old thread and I think Jerry has come back from the dead for a minute!

We miss you man, I am going to watch the Kid Rock Christmas Special just for you tonight Curmy.....Guns, Booze, Sexy Girls, Blues music, you would have loved it!

- winoweenie - 12-14-2003 07:32 PM

I'm joining you Robo-Baby! Was putting up some stuff today and found a bottle of Christian Bros Cream Sherry I bought from Jim Wallace from Curmys' cellar. Will it damage anything in the cellar? WW