They wood, if they could

The hottest topic in the world of French wines these days is the controversial debate over the government's decision to allow the French to put wood in their wine, as opposed to wine in wood, to speed up the aging process.

However, as reported on Decanter.com, the French agriculture minister yesterday ducked the controversial issue of wood chips in a speech to open Vinitech, being held this year in Bordeaux, France.

"Dominique Bussereau, speaking on the first day of Vinitech, the world's largest wine techniques and machinery trade fair, said he welcomed the modernization of French wine but made no mention of the divisive issue of wood chips, recently banned for use in AOC winemaking," Decanter.com reported.

"'The state encourages the modernization of the French system of wine segmentation, in order to adapt to evolving consumer demand,' Bussereau said. 'The aim is to conserve our leadership'."

Use of wood chips in winemaking was banned by INAO, the French regulatory body, this month, two months after the EU legalized use. Prior to the ruling seven appellations Anjou, Muscadet, Bordeaux, Bordeaux Supérieur, Medoc, Haut-Médoc and Côtes du Rhône were granted special dispensations, allowing experimental use of wood chips as of the 2006 harvest.

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