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Burgundy ‘not a safe choice’ says BIVB

Dozens of faulty Burgundies have been found in the first quality checks on the region's wines.

Random bottles of Burgundy were taken off shop shelves in the first round of quality checks introduced last year as part of ‘Project Burgundy’. Many were found to be faulty, which has worried the BIVB (Bureau Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bourgogne).

Pierre Meurgey, BIVB deputy chairman told decanter.com, ‘We tested several hundred bottles, and a few dozen were found to be faulty. Some problems will be due to corks or storage, which can be easily remedied. If the fault is with the wine, we will work with the producer to help improve it.’

He added, ‘There are thousands of producers (in Burgundy) but there is no reason to produce bad wine. We know that at the moment Burgundy is not always a safe choice, and while we don’t want to be considered the Coca-Cola of wine, we would rather not be known as a risk.’

Project Burgundy, spearheaded by the BIVB, is the region’s €4.6m quality offensive. Introduced last year, the project aims to raise the region’s image through quality control by random testing, and regional promotion.

A wine that fails the quality test will be retested the following two years. If fails on its third attempt the producer will be reported to the authorities – in this case the fraud department of the Burgundy police.

Meurgey said the testing would help remove the poorest quality wine, and restore consistency to Burgundy.

Last year Burgundy was rocked by a number of scandals with producers blending wine from other regions, or wines of inferior quality, and selling it off as cru Burgundy. Dismissed initially as isolated cases they began to look less isolated as the year went on. ‘There is no excuse for fraud. As to whether there are more cases out there, unfortunately there are always people who will do it,’ Muergey said.

Written by Catharine Lowe11 January 2002

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