The traditional gap between a US and Euro-palate is becoming less obvious, according to a French-guy named Louis-Fabrice Latour (you might of heard of him), head of Burgundy negociant and grower Maison Louis Latour.
“The trade in the US has become much more English-oriented,” remarked Louis-Fabrice in an interview with The Drinks Business. However, he clarified this perceived shift in the US palate by adding: “It’s the trade I’m talking about, not the final consumers.”
While preferences on either side of the Atlantic may start becoming more closely aligned, Louis observed that there’s still a big difference in approach between the markets. Calling the US “cherry pickers”, he stated that the UK by comparison “is very open when it comes to vintages; they’re used to it.”
So if you read between the lines, what ol’ Louis Latour is trying to spell out is that: U.S. consumers still prefer New World wines, but wine industry professionals are doing every in their power to educate them as to the qualities of the “Old World”, with their successes being few and far between.
I think I’d agree with that. I’ve spent (and continue to spend) a lot time trying to do the same thing!
When it really comes down to it, people like what they like. I’ve always found American consumers to lean more toward wines from New World countries, primarily because they give more “up-front enjoyment”….if you know what I mean.
No amount of education can change someone’s palate overnight; instead, if someone approaches me (as they did on Twitter literally 5 mins ago) saying they “…like White Zinfandel…but looking for something different”, it isn’t a great stretch to have them jump to a Kabinett Riesling from Germany. Would they enjoy an Austrian Gruner Veltliner? Probably not! But after they’ve enjoyed the Kabinett (which they inevitably will), the next step would be Mosel Riesling, then maybe Gewurztraminer and then the Gruner.
Louis-Fabrice Latour is right to point-out the American apprehension against European wines, but in my opinion, the majority of the blame should fall on the ones doing the educating!