Unmasking the Champagne Conspiracy! - Printable Version

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- Botafogo - 09-27-2000 08:35 PM

How can there be so little discussion here of one of the most fabulous, food friendly and celebratory wines in the world? Just to start the ball rolling, here is a little editorial:

They’re lying to you. They want you to be ignorant, clueless and easily manipulated. They’ve spent millions of dollars to inoculate you with a dreadful consumer virus called “brand anxiety”. They act as if alternatives did not even exist and if you point them out they call them “off brands from inconsequential players”. They take your money and give it to shareholders, ad agencies and guys named Louie with pinky rings instead of putting it in the bottle where it belongs. In short, they must be stopped! Who are “they”? Industrial Champagne producers (usually owned and operated by either giant liquor distribution empires and/or luxury goods consortiums) who want you to think of Champagne as a “branded lifestyle statement” instead of wine when, in fact, Champagne can be thougt of as northernmost part of Burgundy, growing the same varieties in an even more difficult climate and all the quality rules apply:

1) The best wines are made from Grand Cru and Premier Cru Vineyards.

2) The best producers are maniacal, hands-on grower / winemakers, not jet-set pseudo-royalty types who’ve inherited the figurehead proprietorship of a “luxury brand” owned and controlled by an insurance company, grocery chain or liquor distributor.

3) The best wines are NOT made in quantities of millions of cases (thousands of bottles, more likely!).

4) Most of the best producers are not in the industrial centers of Rheims/Epernay but in villages with fanciful names like Dizy, Bouzy and Ludes AND YOU CAN TASTE THE DIFFERENCES JUST LIKE THOSE BETWEEN VOLNAY AND CHAMBOLLE-MUSIGNY!!!!!

5) Anything that is made in enough quantity to be a “Brand” in a market with 270 million people is BY DEFINITION not the “creme de la creme” or in any way indicative of the best possible quality.

These houses are engaged in a battle for the very soul of Champagne with the industrial producers who want the French government to deregulate Champagne altogether. They need your support and their wines are better anyway. Of special added consumer interest is that the marketing weasels have been so successful that the best Champagnes often cost far less than the famous fizz due to the absence of giant ad budgets, the need to pour Jeroboams over the heads of athletes or giving significant proportions of the inventory away at charity functions. A win-win situation for savvy buyers, Cheers!!!

What is YOUR favorite Recoltant Champagne? Roberto (WINE EXPO / Champagne World HQ)

- winoweenie - 09-28-2000 07:18 AM

Roberto, IT IS GOOD TO HEAR YOUR VOICE AGAIN.We`re actually going into my active fizz drinkin` season. I`m heading for Napa mid-Oct. I`ll call and warn you before arrival. Maybe lunch at the lil` french bistro? winoweenie ( Verne B )

- Botafogo - 09-28-2000 12:06 PM

Vern, to hell with the lil' French Bistro, lets go to Restaurant 2117 and really get down. Thanks for your support, Roberto

- winoweenie - 09-28-2000 02:47 PM

RR, Sounds great. I`ll let you know before arrival. Looks like 3rd week of Oct. BPR WW By-the-By, Know it has to be kooky..... Whas` fer the heck do Botafogo mean??????

- Botafogo - 09-28-2000 03:02 PM

"Botafogo" em portugues or "Buttafuoco" in Italian, both mean "swift fire" or "spitting fire" but are also the names of, respectively, the Marina District in Rio de Janeiro (my second hometown) and a great wine zona in Oltrepo Pavese in Lombardia.

- RAD - 09-28-2000 07:16 PM

Champagne conspiracy? How about sparkling wine conspiracy?

On my honeymoon in italy last year, I became enamored with two sparklers (which granted can cover a lot of real estate as well between them).

I fell in love with prosecco, which I've found in general to be a bit sweeter than champagne, and moscato d'asti, which is far less carbonated than most champagnes (and far sweeter than both it and prosecco--think of bottled gardenias that tickle the tip of the tongue).


[This message has been edited by RAD (edited 09-28-2000).]

- mrdutton - 09-28-2000 11:02 PM

I want to try prosecco, but have not been able to find a source. Can anyone out there help suggest a source?

- mrdutton - 09-28-2000 11:16 PM

Roberto - I appreciate your comments and although I can not speak so much from experience as from knowledge, have to whole heartedly agree with you. My personal research has shown me that the best Champagnes come from the smaller "houses" where the grower is also the winemaker.

The problem in my area is that the distributors don't carry anything much else than the champagnes and sparkling wines favored by the "masses". So for me to find a Champagne produced by the grower/winemaker is almost impossible unless I travel great distances to far-off places like NYC (which I don't get to do very often).

I also keep checking the various sources on the internet who will sell to me, but have not had much luck there, either. (Finding any out-of-state wine merchant who will sell directly to someone in Virginia is quite difficult!)

I did buy a bottle of 1989 Krug recently as a special present for my Parents and also purchased a bottle for myself. However, it remains unopened until I find an excuse for a special occasion.

In the meantime, I'll be consuming sparkling wines from California such as Schramsberg and Iron Horse and Roederer (sp?) (if I can find it!) as I diligently search for the really good stuff from France.

- Botafogo - 09-29-2000 11:28 AM

A) we have fifteen Prosecchi (plural of Prosecco in Italiano) on the floor at ALL times.

B) Call me at 1-800-WINE EXPO re grower Champagnes (we have over 100) and transportation.

I live to serve, Roberto

- winoweenie - 09-29-2000 05:52 PM

You golden-tongued devil, You`ve struck again. winoweenie

- mrdutton - 09-29-2000 06:50 PM


Information NOTED. Thanks!

- Botafogo - 09-29-2000 11:30 PM

>I did buy a bottle of 1989 Krug recently as a special present for my Parents and also purchased a bottle for myself. However, it remains unopened until I find an excuse for a special occasion.<<

Duuuuuuude, Remi Krug says that "opening a bottle of Krug is such a special occasion that it requires two more just to celebrate it"!!!

Roberto (who owns a shirt that says "Je Krug, donc je suis")

- Bucko - 09-30-2000 07:45 AM

I'm still trying to find Louie with the pinky ring.... ;-)

Two of my favorite houses have been Lanson and Lasalle, not huge houses by any stretch. Sadly, Lanson has gone crazy, as evidenced by this note from WS:

Lanson is offering a special edition of its Brut Champagne Noble Cuvée 1988 clothed by Paco Rabanne. The Spanish designer -- known for creating clothes from unusual materials, such as fluorescent leather, ostrich feathers, aluminum and paper -- outfitted the bottles with a silver-mesh dress, reminiscent of chain-mail armor.

The Lanson Noble Cuvée 1988 retails for $720 with the metal covering, which will be available in two colors: silver and gold. The company did not reveal exactly how many cases will be brought into the United States, but said it would be available the first week of December.


- mrdutton - 09-30-2000 08:13 AM

Je suis American. Je ne parle pas Francais.

(Please excuse the poor spelling)

"Je Krug, donc je suis" I Krug, ? I am ????

Please translate.

- RAD - 09-30-2000 08:21 AM

I beleive that would be "I Krug, therefore I am." [img][/img]

- mrdutton - 09-30-2000 06:16 PM

I shall find out as soon as a special occasion arises! But it is going to break me if I have to buy two more bottles just to celebrate opening the one I already have. [img][/img]

- mrdutton - 09-30-2000 08:11 PM

Roberto, are you the west coast "version" of Willie Gluckstern? As far as Champagne is concerned it seems you are. I am speaking especially about the opinions expressed in his book "The Wine Avenger".

Willie's second opening paragraph in his chapter on the great bubbly goes thus:

"Sadly, beneath the great celebration of life that is Champagne, there lurks an ugly secret. The overwhelming bulk of Champagne sold throughout the world, which is produced by a half-dozen mass-market companies, is just plain crap. It's not that they are inept. By and large, they are simply incapable of producing anything better in the massive quantities required to meet their market demands. Most of the famous brands are the greatest underachievers. Meanwhile, the small artisanal producers, whose wines you are not likely to encounter at the corner store, offer Champagnes so far above and beyond the big guys in quality as to be like some other beverage entirely. The difference, when the wines are judged side by side, can be breathtaking."

Just thought you'd be interested......

- Botafogo - 09-30-2000 09:27 PM

Perhaps, but does he put his money where his mouth is and actually bring over two hundred labels of Recoltant fizz to the market? And, the "Grande Marques" are not "incapable" of making good stuff, they have actively chosen not to, a much worse evil. Their modus operandi seems to be to buy the better competition and drag them down to their level instead of learning from them.

How many of you know that even KRUG is now owned by LMVH (Satan's home office on Earth) and will soon be eviscerated like they did to Veuve Clicquot?????

This is WAR, Roberto

- Botafogo - 09-30-2000 09:40 PM

>>I am speaking especially about the opinions
expressed in his book "The Wine Avenger".<<

"I like Pierre Peters better than Henri Billiot" is an opinion, "Meanwhile, the small artisanal producers, whose wines you are not likely to encounter at the corner store, offer Champagnes so far above and beyond the big guys in quality as to be like some other beverage entirely." is an easily proven FACT, not an opinion. It is just such a shame that the forces of evil have been so successful at denying 95% of the population of the world the chance to even find out what they are missing. We sold more Champagne this July than we did last November (and we sold PLENTY then) as we just keep hammering on two FACTS:

Champagne is wine and you need some everyday.


The best stuff costs much less than the famous stuff so it won't break you either.

THIS week we have taken in four solid pallets (56 case lots) of four different labels plus ten case drops of about ten others. Champagne, it's not just for Breakfast (in bed) anymore!