surinenglish

Shampanskoye

Isn't it about time that politicians stopped telling us what to eat and drink? None of them are competent to do so, and certainly no Spanish MP has the qualifications to recommend we consume less meat, as happened recently. Perhaps the level of political intervention reached a new level when Vladimir Putin mannounced to the world that French champagne cannot be sold in Russia.

A new law rules that only home-produced sparkling wine can be referred to as champagne. This presents the hordes of champagne-loving Russians with a dilemma. They can still serve Möet and Crystal at their parties, but the labels must refer to 'shampanskoye' - sparkling wine.

The whole thing is typical of a mad dictator. There is no benefit to anyone, except possibly some sparkling winemakers in the Crimea who will now be struggling to churn out more of their almost undrinkable product. The situation opens the door to the unprecedented scenario of Russian sparking wine being labelled as 'champagne' and the real imported stuff as 'sparkling wine'.

The issue that is worrying winemakers worldwide is that they could be at the mercy of any mad dictator whose priorities are more patriotic than practical. Names like champagne, cognac, claret, etc, have been hard won after multiple court battles, and are not to be surrendered easily. Imagine some secondary wine- producing country deciding to call its red wine 'Rioja', like for example, 'Rumanian Rioja'. Following Russia's example this is a technical possibility, just showing that power is often in the wrong hands. Putin claims to have never let a drop of alcohol pass his lips.