Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Saturday, May 4, 2013

It's all in the name

C and I drove out to the suburbs today to do a big grocery run (read: buy cheaper booze).  I was walking around the wine aisle looking for some whites & rosés for summer picnics, and came across this bottle:
It might not jump out at you, but the "Produit en Bretagne" label was the first thing I noticed.  See, I am a big fan of Loire Valley wines - give me basically anything from this map below, and I am a happy girl:

I like the rosés from Anjou, the reds from the Saumur area (Chinon, Bourgueil, Champigny), the sparkling wines from Vouvray and the whites from Muscadets Sèvre et Maine.  They're all versatile, reasonably-priced wines that merit being more well-known.

I think that part of the problem for the Muscadets in particular is that most people think of it as a sweet wine.  I often serve Muscadet sur lie for dinner, and people are always surprised, expecting it to be sweet - but that would be more so the Coteaux de Layon, just a little further east.

Having lived in Bretagne for five years, I also know practically zero wine is made in Brittany because of the lack of sun. Those of you who read my old blog may remember some of the many photos I posted leaving Nantes and heading towards Brittany - as soon as you exited the city limits, you'd almost systematically see black clouds ahead of you and sunshine behind.  So the "Made in Brittany" sign left me a little perplexed.

I must have looked it too, because one of the employees came over and asked if he could help.  I pointed out the sticker, and he basically said "And your point is?".  I replied "Well this wine doesn't come from Brittany, so it can't have that sticker on it".  He proceeded to insist that it did come from Brittany, and thus began a five minute argument about whether or not Nantes was part of Bretagne.

He maintained that the bottle could have the sticker because it was historically part of Brittany (something I'm sure Lilian would agree with :) ).  I maintained that because Nantes has not been the capital of Brittany for several hundreds of years, it should not have that sticker.  He started rambling on about Anne de Bretagne and the duchy, etc and I was like "Look buddy, Rennes has had the parliament of Bretagne since the mid-1500's...it's time to let it go."

Granted, I may be a bit biased too after all of those years in Bretagne - Nantes is considered to be the pushy older sister to Rennes and a lot of folks are quite happy to have it be part of another region, but still.    I guess it just irritates me to see them so stuck in the past.  I mean, half of North Dakota and South Dakota belonged to Minnesota at some point, and you don't see people in those regions insisting they still live in Minnesota (and those folks would actually have a reason to say that - their states suck!). 

We would probably still be there arguing about it now if C hadn't pulled me away, using the frozen food as an excuse.  Needless to say, that particular bottle of wine did not end up in our cart...

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7 Comments:

OpenID The Bold Soul said...

You have SO learned to argue a topic into the ground, just like a proper Française. :) Bravo! (And may I one day follow in your footsteps.)

May 5, 2013 at 10:31 AM  
Blogger Lil said...

For this, I'm not sure I would entirely agree it could be a product of Brittany. Afterall, it's one thing trying to defend a place as historically in Brittany ;) (thus helps to cache where my in-law lives, as their surname is rather uncommon where they are but found in places in real Brittany), it's another trying to pass off a product that comes from a place which today doesn't come with the right post code. That's a bit like Ryanair saying Beauvais is in Paris (errm, it's not even in Ile-de-France!).

May 5, 2013 at 11:39 AM  
Blogger Gwan said...

I love a good Loire wine (going wine tasting in Vouvray today in fact). Very French of you arguing your point!

May 5, 2013 at 11:41 AM  
Blogger MISS YURI said...

I love how you went straight-up 16th century governance on him! I also like how he stood his ground even though he could have very well just said "oh yeah i guess so but they don't pay me enough to care". like the others have said, you're french among the french now!

May 5, 2013 at 4:30 PM  
Blogger astrofreak12 said...

But Brittany has a stronger historical past than Minnesota or whatever. I know since you hate Brittany so much your judgement will always be flawed by your experience. Go to Nantes, you will see numerous signs on castles etc indicating that it is indeed deeply enshrined in Brittany. The division was made by some folks who knew nothing about the area and who separated regions according to rivers etc. but not according to the reality. I guess it was not in the French state's interest to have a strong Brittany. So when you argue things have been different for centuries get on with it, I must admit that you clearly do not understand the importance that this attachment has to Bretons and it is quite insulting. Therefore there is nothing wrong with the wine being labelled Breton.

May 6, 2013 at 12:17 AM  
Blogger The Paris Chronicles said...

Maybe just a marketing scheme? But what I really like is how a common stockboy had enough historical knowledge to banter with you. You'd never get that level of discourse at Target.

May 6, 2013 at 9:46 AM  
Blogger Amber said...

This is a debate that I remember hearing a lot when I lived in Nantes! There are those who insist that it is, and those who insist that it isn't... I don't think either side will ever be able to convince the other!

May 6, 2013 at 2:29 PM  

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