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Tuesday, April 20, 2004

The French are Liars! (Part 4)


I hadn't planned to continue my series on French perfidy, but the anecdotes continue to roll in....

Slate has been running a series about the release of the latest vintage of French wines. Last week, Slate's writer spent the day with Jeffrey Davies, an American expatriate involved in the wine trade.

In the mid-1980s, [Davies] entered the Bordeaux wine trade, starting a negociant firm. One of the peculiarities of the Bordeaux is that the chateaux don't sell their wines directly to clients; instead, they sell to negociants, who are responsible for selling the wines to importers ... But there are walls he has been unable to breach, presumably because he is an American. Though he is friends with many of the leading figures in the Medoc, it has been difficult for him to get allocations from top chateaux; promises have been made, but the wines never seem to materialize.

So, yet another anecdote (or anecdotes, really since the article speaks of broken "promises," plural), about the French propensity to regard promises and contracts as being more flexible and contingent than an American might.

By the way, the article sings the praises of St. Emilion, "an enchanting place...worth a detour." I've been there, and though it's a nice place, it's pretty touristy.
 
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