A “non-wine tasting” is to be held in Brussels today (May 9) as a row over whether a wine produced in Kent from Argentinian grapes can legally be defined as ‘wine’ and sold in the EU.
The case of Chapel Down’s attempt to produce a Malbec wine for Argentinean restaurant chain Gaucho was taken up by the UK Independence Party (UKIP), whose leader Nigel Farage is the MRP for the South East, the region containing the producer.
“One of the UK’s leading wine producers has fallen foul of bonkers EU rules after it was told its Malbec must not be called wine but ‘a fruit-derived alcoholic beverage’ because it was made using imported grapes from Argentina,” says UKIP.
The party adds that the winemakers from Tenterden in Kent are now stuck with 1,300 bottles of wine, which was launched in April on World Malbec Day and are resorting to giving it away as taster sample alongside purchases of their award-winning sparkling wines. In protest at the “barmy” ruling, the European of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) group in the European Parliament, of which UKIP is the majority party, is holding a Non-Wine Tasting Event in Brussels on Europe Day, May 9, with “the serious aim of drawing attention to damaging, nonsensical EU legislation.”
There are bound to be plenty of takers, as according to wine experts, the grapes were fermented slightly cooler than is traditional in Argentina before the wine was matured in new American oak for nine month resulting in a “big red” wine (abv 14%) with a blackcurrant, blueberry and raspberry nose and a long finish of berry fruit and garrigue herbs.
Farage claims the EU’s rules on wine are only in place to protect French producers.
Photo: European Parliament