Can’t pronounce Crozes Hermitage? A young American wine expert is here to help.
Lately, it appears that too few people worldwide are drinking French wine. As such, to combat the possibility of an international sales slump, the French have enlisted the help of 30-year-old Sheri Sauter. One of only two American women (and the youngest of 22 Americans) to hold a Master of Wine designation, it’s her job, as spokeswoman for the Wines of France campaign, to show us that French wine can be approachable, affordable, and maybe even pronounceable. Here are five key things she taught us.
The French Want You as a Customer: “When the French started losing market share in the U.K. to the Australians, that was a wake-up call. Since then, there’s been a lot of discussion about whether the categories of French wine are clear to the consumer. Many French wines are named after the place they come from instead of the grape variety they’re made from, and Americans tend to get confused by that. So there’s been a huge effort to make the labels more easily understandable.”
It Doesn’t Matter if You Say “Boh-Zho-Lay” Or “Boo-Joe-Lace”: “People are worried about not being able to pronounce the names of French wines. I don’t speak any French, so I have the same trouble. But you don’t have to know how to pronounce it to like it.”
French Wine Can Be Inexpensive: “There’s a misconception that value wines only come from California and Australia, and that French wines are pricier and more of a special-occasion beverage. There are actually a tremendous number of good buys from France — affordable, everyday wines.”
What’s French for “Box”? “I am a Master of Wine, but I have a box of wine sitting on my counter at home.”
Get Over Yourself: “Wine is fun. Yet people feel the need to be very esoteric: ‘Oh, I taste violets and rosemary.’ Come on. You don’t need that.”