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Parker fears anti-French backlash from Bush ‘extremists’

Robert Parker has lashed out against American anti-French rhetoric, and says he fears Bush extremists will exact revenge on the French wine industry.

The highly-influential American wine writer, who is interviewed in the July issue of Decanter, is surprised at ‘how nasty’ the rhetoric has become, and fears for the future consequences for the wine industry.

‘I think the real test will be after the war when some of the extremists in the Bush administration will want some sort of revenge extracted.’

Importers of French wine are already complaining that US customs are ‘harrassing’ their shipments, Parker says. ‘They’re inspecting everything more carefully, they’re finding little flaws on the labels so they can’t allow them in, which is very sad.’

Parker reckons readers of his bi-monthly guide The Wine Advocate are not resentful of the French. ‘I haven’t heard of anyone wanting to dump or stop buying French wine. I’ve given lectures over the last two or three weeks on French wine and I haven’t had one question about it.’

But he says the in the centre of the country, away from the east and west coasts, ‘there are some real feelings of recrimination.’

He says it is interesting that the French – and not their allies in the anti-war camp – have been singled out for opprobrium. ‘No one has been boycotting Russian caviar or Chinese restaurants, or German wine or saying get rid of your Mercedes Benz.’

He points out that the US has used its UN veto more than any other country, but wonders if France made the diplomatic faux pas of campaigning too hard to enlist support.

‘I think that’s where the Bush administration thinks they went overboard, and they’re going to make them pay,’ he says.

Finally Parker says he is hoping for a quick end to the war, that they find the ‘so-called’ weapons of mass destruction, and that the coalition forces are treated as liberators.

‘But,’ he says, ‘who knows what will happen?’

Robert Parker discusses food and wine with Fiona Beckett in the July issue of Decanter magazine. Subscribe today and save up to 51%

Written by Fiona Beckett19 March 2003

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