Food & Drink

Sacre bleu! Blue wine makes a splash in southern France

SETE, FRANCE (AUGUST 9, 2018) (REUTERS) – A glass of blue, sir? It is a question that may dismay purist winemakers in France, where wine is a way of life rather than simply a drink, but in the southern town of Sete consumers cannot get enough.

In the Mediterranean resort’s restaurants and beach bars, holidaymakers and local residents have drunk their way through the first consignment of the turquoise-coloured chardonnay of 2,000 bottles.

Now Rene Le Bail, the entrepreneur marketing the Spanish-made wine, has put in an order for up to 35,000 bottles which he thinks he can sell in the next two months.

The wine is filtered through a pulp of red grape skins which contain a natural pigment, anthocyanin, which gives the wine its electric blue colour.

Le Bail turned to a vineyard in Spain’s southern Almeria region to find a blue wine which he says boasts aromas of cherry, raspberry and passion fruit.

It is not the first to come out of Spain. In 2016, Spanish startup Gik developed a wine with a deep sapphire hue, but labelled on the bottle as “vin bleu” it ran foul of strict French labelling rules and suffered a short shelf life in stores.

The entrepreneur has side-stepped the regulations with some clever naming, labelling the 12 euro bottles: ‘Vindigo’.

Le Bail has been inundated with orders from across France, Belgium and Germany on the wine’s Facebook page and says demand for the wine stretches as far as Russia, the Caribbean and China.

In a country where rose wine was for decades seen as a poor cousin to red and white wine, not everyone shares Le Bail’s conviction that blue wine is here to last.

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