Blue Wine Creates a Colorful Controversy in France

Vin Bleu

A tasty Chardonnay originating from a sunny region near the Mediterranean has caused quite the stir in France, a country known to impose very strict measures, rules and guidelines related to the production, sale and consumption of wines.

"Vindigo" is not the first name chosen for an imported wine that looks more like a cocktail mixed in a Miami Beach dance club. This particular fermented grape beverage features a gorgeous light blue color that resembles turquoise jewelry, and it was first labeled as "Vin Bleu," a name that did not sit well with wine industry regulators in France, where wine purists bristle at the thought of calling wines by colors other than red, white and rosé.

According to Reuters dispatch recently published by France24.com, Vindigo has been a major hit in Sete, a resort village in the south of the country. Tourists and residents alike cannot get enough of Vindigo, and the affinity goes beyond the exotic look of this Chardonnay when poured in a glass; the dry and smooth taste evokes hints of cherry fruits. The entrepreneur who introduced this wine to Sete was intrigued by how vintners achieved the striking color; it so happens that a natural substance called anthocyanin, which can be found in grape skins, acts as a blue pigment. Anthocyanin is the reason why grape juice stains on a white shirt sometimes leave a faint shade of blue even after they are removed.

Enjoying a glass of chilled Vindigo by the beach on a hot summer day has become as popular activity in Sete, and French wine purists are not amused. Aside from the unusual coloring of the wine, there is also the matter of provenance. Vindigo is imported from Almeria, a Mediterranean region of Spain that has previously produced a sapphire blue wine. Even though wine purists in France do not mind seeing imported products on store shelves, they take exception to seeing foreign wines making a significant splash such as Vindigo has made. As of mid-August, Vindigo was expected to sell 300,000 bottles per month, and it has not even made it north to the rest of the country.

French wine connoisseurs are impressed by Vindigo's appearance, but the same cannot be said about the overall experience. The aroma of cherry fruits can be a bit overwhelming for a Chardonnay, and the taste is a little sweeter than it should be; however, these are aspects of Vindigo that can be improved.

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