Pinotgate: Gallo taken for a ride

bottlesribenaThe biggest wine scam for years hit the headlines this month as 12 French merchants and Co-op executives from the Languedoc were fined and given suspended jail terms for flogging the equivalent of 18 million bottles of fake Pinot Noir to the US giant Gallo for their brand Red Bicyclette.

We don’t know whether to laugh or cry, or both. I couldn’t stop laughing when I first read about it – until I pictured the image of the guy chuckling at a gag before realising that the joke was on him. It’s immensely damaging to France, and especially to the Languedoc, at a time when French wine exports are plunging. Having spoken to a few of our customers in passing, more than one mentioned the Austrian Anti-Freeze scandal. And that was 25 years ago.

bottleshot-pinotnoir1There’s no shortage of coverage on the ‘fake Pinot‘ (google for 550+ news stories) and you can link below to some of the better news items. It now appears that the world’s biggest wine company, Constellation, were also taken in by the fake Pinot, although no-one seems to know who bought what exactly. If you have an opinion or observation, please feel free to comment  – we’d like to know what you think.

Click here for 12 Great Quotes about the scam on this blog, and further musings called

Pinotgate: Sideways and Freedom Fries

Here are the links to some of the best articles:

For a quick synopsis – The Week

Decanter.com news

From a leading wine blog with lots of comments Dr Vino

For a great, hard-hitting article Grapes and Grains NYC blog

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One thought on “Pinotgate: Gallo taken for a ride

  1. Neville Austin

    'Cheap' french Pinot Noir, in shops in the UK, is pretty much garbage most of the time anyway. French wines have come to lose their cachet as we have all learned from drinking more widely. Who cares what the grape variety was, does it even matter after the processors have skillfully manipulated it – it would seem that the Red Bicyclette was quite popular so presumably people were happy with it and felt not ripped off – although nobody seems to have bothered to report its retail price.

    Would it not have been wonderful however if wine merchants and growers, even critics perhaps, had been asked to pontificate in a large scale blind tasting. How many Red Faces I wonder.