Francois Hollande and Sauternes
The feeling in the Bordeaux wine world is fairly positive about our dear new President, hereafter termed ODNP (by the way I am not French and don’t have the right to vote so I am not responsible for any of all this, my sole civic right being to say whatever I like in the café on Sunday morning). Here are some serious and some irreverent thoughts
Sarko was so virulently anti-alcohol that we thought he was in the Temperance Movement. Hollande seems to be more of a cheerful old soul who probably doesn’t mind a glass of wine every now and then.
It certainly looks as though he likes Sauternes!! Maybe this is a return to Mitterand’s “la gauche caviar”: if so, not all that bad for the Sauternais!
The less positive news is that anyone with any money (which of course excludes Sauternes people) is going to have to hang on to his wallet, as ODNP increases the civil service, decreases retirement eligibility etc and then has to pay for it all by applying election promises like supertaxing salaries and company profits, all magically bolstered up by growth rather than austerity. No wonder the papers here are full of pictures of Sarko wearing a huge grin on his face.
The effect mid-term will of course be that extra social charges and increased worker protection, plus the already agreed VAT increase, will need to be passed on to wine prices. But maybe that won’t come to more than a percent or two.
It remains to be seen if and how ODNP will integrate the National Front as part of the government after next month’s parliamentary elections – this might mean alcohol limits for drivers would be abolished and the English could drive over to their favourite French restaurant in Calais and drink lots of Sauternes!
Meanwhile ODNP has to face the music from the Germans who may well include conditions like insisting that the Sauternais plant Riesling instead of Sémillon and we all know that Riesling doesn’t go with crisps as well as good traditional Sauternes does!
So my conclusion is that ODNP is good for Sauternes on all counts, possibly… maybe? I’m off to the café tomorrow to seek out more opinions! Bill Blatch
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