Saturday, 14 January 2012

France Show, but where is the Languedoc-Roussillon?

The France Show has been an annual early January event at Earls Court in London for some years. It seemed well attended but not heaving, although the offer of free tickets to (presumably) previous attendees like us suggests a numbers boost was sought. The event is essentially for deprived Francophiles and wannabe future French home owners. It splits into two halves physically. A more serious property, finance, legal and business section on the right vs. lifestyle - food, wine, travel, fashion, language, entertainment and the like - on the left.

Now France is pretty big – the Languedoc-Roussillon is one of 22 regions on the mainland. Nevertheless, for a region on the top tier in the expansion and tourism league it had a near zero presence. Just one obvious representation out of 150 exhibitors; a new build specialist based in Narbonne called Villas from Languedoc. Their website URL name is as befits an established business of 28 years.

This is a wine blog so I’ll get back on topic with, on this occasion, much despair. I eyed well over 100 bottles on various stands and only spotted two L-R examples. There were two wine theatres and one was dedicated to Bordeaux. The other admirably featured Alsace and, seemingly forgetting this is January in London, Provence Rosé. The Sud de France logo, which covers food as well as wine, was nowhere to be seen. That said, with one cowboy stall charging £39 a kilo for 24 month old Comté to the uninformed, perhaps disassociation isn't a bad thing. That said, such extreme rip-offs were as rare as bargains.

We chatted to a charming couple who are 3D Wines and operate a vine rental scheme that supports small family operated vineyards. Their portfolio is 33 strong but with zilch from the L-R and just 3 from the Rhône to prop up the south. While they did tell us to "watch this space", we concurred that image and the lack of icon wines remain as L-R challenges.

I'll end on a more positive note. The Languedoc-Roussillon's reputation as a hidden secret is safe for now.

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