Choosing whether or not to drink imported wine was once a political decision. With Brexit looming, it becomes one once againby Barry Smith / December 8, 2017 / Leave a comment
Published in January 2018 issue of Prospect Magazine
Once the world’s biggest wine import market, the wine trade in the British Isles exerted a hidden hand on the planting and decision making of wine growers in France and Portugal. Bordeaux supplied the almost insatiable demand for Claret—the name the British gave to the red wines of the region, although the word almost certainly derives from Clairet, a pale, rose-like wine.
When England and France were engaged in interminable wars, the canny Scots became France’s major ally against the Auld Enemy and the Auld Alliance was born. As a result of its help in driving the English out of the southwest of France, Scotland was offered privileged trading relations with France, and between the 15th and 17th centuries Scottish ships sailed up the Gironde to the heart of Bordeaux to buy each new vintage at a good price. The English, meanwhile, had to surrender their arms and apply for passports at the mouth of the river.