cuvee and meritage?

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Re: cuvee and meritage?

Postby Bob Ross » Tue Jan 23, 2007 9:14 pm

"Do you mean "cannot be used to label any wine made in the EU and sold in the US"? The term Claret is certainly used on Bordeaux bottles over here."

If I understand the regs correctly, Steve, any wine made in France could be labeled "Claret" and sold in the US. The US/EU deal doesn't seem to restrict "Claret" to Bordeaux.

I hadn't seen any French Bordeaux wine labels carrying the name "Claret". After reading your reply, I realized I could easily review the UK wine market with the help of Wine Searcher Pro and I spent a very pleasant hour doing so.

I was surprised to see how many wines were labeled both Bordeaux and Claret and, frankly, at the variety of price points. I can understand why there might be 100 different wines carrying both names at price points of 2.00 to 15.00 pounds, or so, but was really startled to see that wines in the upper levels -- for example Ch Petrus Claret, 1990 at 20,000 pounds the case -- used only Claret in the merchants description.

Several of the books I have read written by British travelers to the wine regions of Europe wrote that they were startled to learn that Claret wasn't a wine region, but that Claret came from Bordeaux. They were also surprised to learn that as one put it -- "not one Frenchman in a hundred knows what Claret is."

I don't know whether the French are any more knowledgeable today, but British wine merchants certainly are using the Claret label even today.

Thanks for pointing that out -- you helped give me a patina of knowledge about another gap in my understanding of our respective cultures.

I thought you might be interested in some of the many wines from the US wines named "Claret" that could lawfully be sold in the EU under the EU/US trade deal. I don't think many would be exported, and that may have been part of the EU negotiators thinking when they allowed the grandfather clause.

N.V. Abacela Estate Claret Oregon.
2004 Arietta Claret California.
N.V. Aramenta Cellars Tillie Claret Oregon/Washington.
2003 A to Z Wineworks Claret Oregon.
N.V. Austin Hope Westside Red Claret _____.
N.V. Baldwin Vineyards Monticello Claret New York.
N.V. Barboursville Vineyards Claret Virginia.
2002 Basel Cellars Claret Washington.
2004 Becker Vineyards Claret Texas.
2000 Behrens & Hitchcock Claret California.
2003 Bell Wine Cellars Claret California.
2001 Biltmore Estate Claret North Carolina.
2001 Bremer Family Claret California.
2001 Buoncristiani OPC Claret California.
2004 Cliff Lede Claret California.
2004 Clos Pegase Pegase Circle Reserve Claret California.
1999 Cooper Garrod RV's Fine Claret California.
2002 DeBeque Canyon Winery Claret Colorado.
2002 Dehlinger Claret California.
N.V. Delaney Vineyard Claret Texas.
2004 Donati Family Vineyard Claret Paicines California.
N.V. D'Vine Wine of McKinney Claret Texas.
N.V. Edmonds Winery Slide Ridge Claret Washington.
1999 Elliston Captain's Claret California.
2004 First Colony Winery Monticello Claret Virginia.
2002 Francis Coppola / Niebaum-Coppola Black Label Claret California.
2003 Guenoc Victorian Claret California.
N.V. Gundlach Bundschu Bearitage Claret California.
2001 Harrison Claret California.
2001 Imagery Estate Winery Claret Rancho Salina Vineyard California.
N.V. Ingleside Plantation Vineyards Chesapeake Claret Virginia.
2002 Kamen Estate Claret California.
2005 Les Bourgeois Vineyards Claret Missouri.
2003 Matthews Cellars Claret.
2004 Mietz Cellars Claret California.
2000 Moore Cellars Cloudburst Claret California.
2004 Mount Pleasant Claret Blend Missouri.
2002 Murphy-Goode Wild Card Claret California.
2003 Newton Claret California.
2005 Nissley Vinyards Pensylvannia.
N.V. Nonini Winery Claret California.
N.V. Olathe Winery Claret _________.
2005 Oakencroft Jefferson Claret Virginia.
2002 Pride Mountain Reserve Claret California.
2003 Ramey Claret California.
2005 Rappahannock Cellars Claret Virginia.
NV Rashi Vineyards Claret California.
2004 Robert Foley Claret California.
2004 Robert Karl Cellars Claret Washington.
1996 Robert Sinskey Vineyards Claret California.
2003 Roxy Ann Winery Claret Oregon.
2003 Roudon Smith Claret California.
2001 S. Anderson Claret California.
N.V. Sierra Oaks Estate Claret ____________.
1941 Simi Claret California.
N.V. Spicewood Vineyards Claret Texas.
2002 St. Francis Claret California.
2004 Steltzner Vineyards Claret California.
1998 Stonehouse Vintner's Reserve Claret California.
N.V. Sunstone Winery Claret _________.
2005 The Winery at La Grange Claret Virginia.
NV Tomasello Claret New Jersey.
2003 Tyrus Evan Claret Washington.
2004 Veritas Vineyard Claret Veritas Virginia.
2002 Vierra Vineyards Claret Washington.
2001 White Rock Claret California.
N.V. Woodland Trail Winer Lakewood Claret Wisconsin.


Regards, Bob
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

Postby Bob Ross » Tue Jan 23, 2007 9:29 pm

"But I honestly think you are deceiving yourselves if you believe there is any serious doubt over here as to what the word REALLY means over here. I invite you to do the searching of UK websites - forums and wine merchants - for yourself. I guarantee you will see a consistent picture emerge."

My point, Steve, has been that one does not see the word used in France to describe wines from Bordeaux. Only in the UK -- now and in different meanings in the past. Sometimes substantially different meanings.

But, one can find a long tradition of the word "Claret" being used in the United States to describe a red wine, and that for 400 years, perhaps longer. The EU has attempted to prevent US winemakers from using that name on wines sold in the EU -- and to a certain extent has succeeded.

I'm very interested in learning how the word is currently used in the UK -- my impression is that it is in a very general sense "red wines from Brodeaux". And, also, in a general sense, a bit old fashioned or a bit lower end. And, I've now discovered, at the very highest price points, where the word Claret is used and the word Bordeaux is not -- at least in the Wine Searcher Pro listings which are prepared by wine merchants.

I think we both are trying to understand each other's cultures -- we are certainly divided on this point by a common language.

Regards, Bob
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

Postby Bob Ross » Tue Jan 23, 2007 9:39 pm

"No longer generally mixed with Benicarlo though! Not since AC laws were applied, and UK merchants were fobidden to stick anything in a bottle labelled Claret."

I intentionally left that bit out, Steve, because as I mentioned in an earlier post, it is based on an 1834 citation repeated by several other authors later (listing wines from a number of regions of France and elsewhere in Europe). I knew of course that probably was no longer true, athough I really don't know if it would be against the rules for a British wine merchant to blend in a London warehouse some Bordeaux and Benicarlo (or Hermitage or Clairette or some German wines), label it, say Classic Claret, and lawfully sell it in the UK. Do you?

Are you saying, though, that the OED is not accurate today as to the first part of its definition -- i.e. that "Claret" in the sense of a wine from Bordeaux is NOT dialect?

Regards, Bob
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

Postby Bob Ross » Tue Jan 23, 2007 9:49 pm

"Thinking about it further, you husband is correct in the sense that if you just ask for "a glass/bottle of Claret" with no hint that you want to see the wine list you are likely to get served a cheap wine, and in the better restaurants the house red could well be a half-decent Claret. That is exactly where your "luncheon Claret" fits into the picture. (But in most places over here the house red now would more likely be a Chilean Merlot or similar too.) Also if a bottle actually says Claret on the label it is going to be of a quality that varies from poor to pleasantly drinkable. Anything Cru Bourgeois or above is unlikely to call itself Claret.

On the other hand, in conversation it would be quite normal to refer to top Bordeaux as Claret (for those who talk about such things, of course). And if in a restaurant you say something like "What Clarets do you have?", the sommelier will start to push you in the direction of a more expensive Bordeaux."

Exactly the way friends and business acquaintances use the word "Claret" throughout the UK -- albeit with a bit more of a grimace or a smirk -- except in Scotland of course. There the word has a much more vibrant meaning, not only now in my experience, but historically.

Again, thanks for describing how the word is used currently -- you might consider dropping a note to the OED -- they should really smarten up that definition.
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

Postby Graeme Gee » Tue Jan 23, 2007 10:13 pm

Bob Ross wrote:The "claret" story has apparently been concluded by the US conceding to the EU; there's a good summary [url=http://www.ttb.gov/industry_circulars/ic2006_01.html]here at Impact of the U.S. /EU Wine Agreement on Certificates of Label
Approval for Wine Labels with a Semi-Generic Name or Retsina.[/url]

Some extracts:

Semi-Generic Names
...
The semi-generic names and the place of origin indicated by each name are:

Burgundy (France) Malaga (Spain)
Chablis (France) Marsala (Italy)
Champagne (France) Moselle (France)
Chianti (Italy) Port (Portugal)
Claret (France) Rhine (Germany)
Haut Sauterne (France) Sauterne (France)
Hock (Germany) Sherry (Spain)
Madeira (Portugal) Tokay (Hungary)




(my bolding) I know the French/German border has been a bit 'fluid' over the centuries, but that was a real surprise...
cheers,
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

Postby Thomas » Tue Jan 23, 2007 10:17 pm

Hoke wrote:
Thomas wrote:I remember on my first trip to England, at a hotel in London I decided to find out what Hock wine was. Ordered a bottle and the waiter comes over with a Liebfraumilch, the one we knew over here (this was 1975).

I asked the waiter why it is called Hock. He said he didn't know; he knew only that it "really isn't veddy good, sir."


Now, Thomas...for the benefit of those who may not know (which I know you know. And you know that I know you know. :D ), you should've gone a little further and given the folks here what you know.

And that is, that 'Hock' is a very English bastardization, the English being quite cavalier with taking other language's words and mucking them up almost beyond recognition, taken from one of the more well-known white wines from Germany, that from Hochheimer.

And, famously, you will find it referred to as one of Jack Falstaff's favorite recreational tipples in the Shakespearean canon.

I will, of course, refrain from commenting on the amusing aspect of the English and the EU now vociferously defending the protection of an common English bastardization of a German village name which became slang for a type/source region of wine. Don't want to tangle with the language protectionists, dontcha know.


But I didn't know it in 1975--I didn't know much at all then...;)
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

Postby Bob Ross » Tue Jan 23, 2007 10:32 pm

Isaac Taylor had a bit to say in his "Words and Places: or, Etymological illustrations of history, ethnology, and geography" in 1873: "It would be curious to trace the progress of the perversion whereby the wines which in the [/b]fifteenth century used to be correctly designated ‘wines of Rhin’ have come to be called Hocks. Hocheim..lies on the Main and not on the Rhein."

I'm intrigued by his supposition: "It may probably be due to some special commercial interest connecting some London firm with Hocheim for in no other European language except English do these wines go by the name of Hock."

Curious, indeed, but I'm not going there. :)

Regards, Bob
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

Postby Gary Barlettano » Tue Jan 23, 2007 11:01 pm

Bob Ross wrote:Isaac Taylor had a bit to say in his Words and Places: or, Etymological illustrations of history, ethnology, and geography iin 1873: "It would be curious to trace the progress of the perversion whereby the wines which in the fifteenth century used to be correctly designated ‘wines of Rhin’ have come to be called Hocks. Hocheim..lies on the Main and not on the Rhein."

I'm intrigued by his supposition: "It may probably be due to some special commercial interest connecting some London firm with Hocheim for in no other European language except English do these wines go by the name of Hock."

Curious, indeed, but I'm not going there. :) Regards, Bob


As I mention above, Hochheim am Main is part of the Rheingau so its wines are indeed considered Rhine wines, probably then as now. However, when you look at the course of the Main, you see that it runs pretty much east-west from north of Nuremberg to Frankfurt and into the Rhine which means it runs through Hessia, Bavaria and Württemberg. Thus it was probably a shipping lane for more than just wines from the Rhine. Nonetheless, I appreciate the cited author's cynical view.
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

Postby Hoke » Wed Jan 24, 2007 12:19 am

Graeme Gee wrote:
Bob Ross wrote:The "claret" story has apparently been concluded by the US conceding to the EU; there's a good summary [url=http://www.ttb.gov/industry_circulars/ic2006_01.html]here at Impact of the U.S. /EU Wine Agreement on Certificates of Label
Approval for Wine Labels with a Semi-Generic Name or Retsina.[/url]

Some extracts:

Semi-Generic Names
...
The semi-generic names and the place of origin indicated by each name are:

Burgundy (France) Malaga (Spain)
Chablis (France) Marsala (Italy)
Champagne (France) Moselle (France)
Chianti (Italy) Port (Portugal)
Claret (France) Rhine (Germany)
Haut Sauterne (France) Sauterne (France)
Hock (Germany) Sherry (Spain)
Madeira (Portugal) Tokay (Hungary)




(my bolding) I know the French/German border has been a bit 'fluid' over the centuries, but that was a real surprise...
cheers,
Graeme


At this point I think we should add that Mosel/Moselle wines come from Luxembourg as well. After all (ahem) a river runs through it.
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

Postby Bob Ross » Wed Jan 24, 2007 3:14 am

"After all (ahem) a river runs through it."

:) Well done!
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

Postby Peter May » Wed Jan 24, 2007 8:55 am

Bob Ross wrote: "
My point, Steve, has been that one does not see the word used in France to describe wines from Bordeaux. Only in the UK -- now and in different meanings in the past. Sometimes substantially different meanings.

But, one can find a long tradition of the word "Claret" being used in the United States to describe a red wine, and that for 400 years, perhaps longer. The EU has attempted to prevent US winemakers from using that name on wines sold in the EU -- and to a certain extent has succeeded.

I'm very interested in learning how the word is currently used in the UK -- my impression is that it is in a very general sense "red wines from Brodeaux".


Well, a fascinating conversation that I have been missing as a result of travelling {6 inches of snow here in Brno}

The fact that the French generally don't use the term Claret is neither here nor there, I think. The Spanish didn|t{don't?} use Sherry and I don't think the French label their wines Burgundy but Bourgogne. But I bet when you go the the negotients in Bordeaux and say you want to buy clarets they know what you're talking about :D

The Americas may have used the term claret for 400 years but you are not denying the English used it first for the wines of Bordeaux I think?

I am not sure where we are going here. The Americas used {use} all sorts of old world names.

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Re: cuvee and meritage?

Postby Peter May » Wed Jan 24, 2007 9:01 am

Bob Ross wrote: I really don't know if it would be against the rules for a British wine merchant to blend in a London warehouse some Bordeaux and Benicarlo (or Hermitage or Clairette or some German wines), label it, say Classic Claret, and lawfully sell it in the UK. Do you?


I'd say yes - Claret has to be red Bordeaux in EU
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

Postby Maria Samms » Wed Jan 24, 2007 9:53 am

Bob - I am surprised by all the US wines that use the term Claret on their label.

Now my question is, in the US, what is the difference between a Claret and a Meritage?
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

Postby Thomas » Wed Jan 24, 2007 10:39 am

Maria Samms wrote:Bob - I am surprised by all the US wines that use the term Claret on their label.

Now my question is, in the US, what is the difference between a Claret and a Meritage?



If I may take a cynical--but I believe factual--stab at it:

Meritage is a legal trademark for wine produced solely from the grapes that are grown in Bordeaux, yet it exists under no particular vineyard or production parameters, which therefore renders it not much more than a marketing tool.

Claret generally means red wine, and is also a marketing tool.

So, in Britain Meritage is not used and claret refers to red wines produced in Bordeaux--in the US Meritage means red or white wines produced from some Bordeaux grapes and claret means red wine from whatever.

Maria, you need to remember that wine labels are regulated to make you understand. You need to remember further that the same government that gives us politicians, gives us wine label regulations...

Luxembourg and Moselle--I like that!
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

Postby Bob Ross » Wed Jan 24, 2007 10:59 am

"I'd say yes - Claret has to be red Bordeaux in EU."

Peter, clarification, do you mean "no"?

Thanks. Bob
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

Postby Thomas » Wed Jan 24, 2007 12:08 pm

Bob Ross wrote:"I'd say yes - Claret has to be red Bordeaux in EU."

Peter, clarification, do you mean "no"?

Thanks. Bob


In the EU, but not in the US.

I should have clarified Meritage for Maria (really, no pun intended).

Meritage's sole guarantee is that no fewer than two grapes (of the kind that grow in Bordeaux) will be in the blend, and that any one grape can represent up to 90% of the blend. That is it. Claret use in the US offers not even that much as a guarantee.

Don't know if Britain or the EU recognizes the use of the made-up word Meritage.
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

Postby Bob Ross » Wed Jan 24, 2007 12:40 pm

"Now my question is, in the US, what is the difference between a Claret and a Meritage?"

Maria, Thomas has as always given an excellent answer. Here's a different approach, one that I enjoy immensely.

The folks who pay the licensing fee for the Meritage label have great flexibility in what grapes they use in their wines; same thing is true for the folks that call their wines Claret in this country. US regulations require that the winery tell us as consumers what they are using.

What I like to do is read the labels and study the reasons the winemakers give for using the grapes that they do. There are several ways to explore further.

1. Go to a website that indexes wineries and find a winery you are interest in. Here are a few good collections of indicies:

http://www.allamericanwineries.com/

http://www.travelenvoy.com/wine/USA.htm

http://www.vino.com/wineries/united-states/

2. Buy a good book on wineries in the US; I've got a list of books I really enjoy using for the purpose, and others have been recommended here from time to time. I particularly like The Oxford Companion to the Wines of North America, edited by Bruce Cass and Jancis Robinson, but there are several other good ones.

3. Use Google and find the specific winery, and see if they have any explanations. For example, Guenoc, now know as Langtry Estate and Vineyards, has a fascinating history.

They license the Meritage name and make a Bordeaux blend version named after Lillie Langtry -- http://www.langtryestate.com/langtry-es ... e-red.html

In the recent past they made a Victoria Claret -- see for example http://www.nicholasrobertsltd.com/179561 from a similar but not identical Bordeaux blend. (I'm not sure if they plan to continue to release a Claret in the future.)

Langtry was a fascinating British personality, who knew (and perhaps was known by) the British aristocracy in the late 1800s. The Claret label at Guenoc honors Langtry's claim that she made “the greatest claret in the country.” [I'm pretty sure she meant the United States by the word "country", but since she was beautiful and British -- is one from the Isle of Jersey considered British? -- she may have meant another country. :-) ]

Other wineries have different, and sometimes fascinating reasons, for using the Claret label -- there for the wine lover to discover while they are discovering the joys -- or horrors -- of the wines themselves.

Enjoy exploring! You certainly display a wonderful joy in doing so so far.

Regards, Bob

PS: I've been meaning to recommend Beekmans in Glen Rock as a great wine retailer -- Joel Mitchell is very knowledgeable and his store is a model of a small retailer with a great monthly newsletter. http://www.beekmanwine.com/ B.
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

Postby Bob Ross » Wed Jan 24, 2007 1:06 pm

Thanks, Thomas. I've been trying to figure out the restrictions using the EU regs themselves, but not getting very far. One can down load all of the regs relating to wine at http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/en/consleg ... index.html

The relevant language seems to be:

3. The use of a name or a term as referred to in point 2 or of the
words‘Hock’, ‘Claret’, ‘Liebfrauenmilch’ and ‘Liebfraumilch’,even
when accompanied by a word such as ‘kind’, ‘type’, ‘style’, ‘imitation’
or other similar expression, shall be prohibited with respect to the
description and presentation of:
— an item covered by CN code 2206, except where the item in question
actually comes from the place so designated,
— an item marketed with clear instructions for the consumer to obtain
from it a beverage in imitation of wine (home-made wine);
however, the name of a vine variety may be used if the item in
question is actually obtained from such variety unless that name
gives rise to confusion with the name of a specific region or
geographically unit used to describe a quality wine psr.


Somewhere the folks in Brussels must have decided that Claret "designates" Bordeaux, but the decision may not have been published. I was able to learn from the EU press office in London, that the background to the EU decisions is not published, though it is recorded in the internal minutes of the committee meetings that precede the decision.

The question of whether the Meritage word can appear on the label in the US would depend on the trade agreement between the US and the EU. I'm sure the Meritage Association knows -- I'll drop them a line and ask.

Regards, Bob
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

Postby Peter May » Wed Jan 24, 2007 1:23 pm

Bob Ross wrote:"I'd say yes - Claret has to be red Bordeaux in EU."

Peter, clarification, do you mean "no"?

Thanks. Bob


No, I mean yes in response to your quoted question

Bob Ross wrote:it would be against the rules


as in, yes it would be against the rules.
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

Postby Peter May » Wed Jan 24, 2007 1:31 pm

Bob Ross wrote: The question of whether the Meritage word can appear on the label in the US would depend on the trade agreement between the US and the EU. I'm sure the Meritage Association knows -- I'll drop them a line and ask.



If you meant can the word Meritage be used on a label in the EU then I cannot see there is any restriction unless it is copyrighted by some othe rcompany in that country, since Meritage is a private brand name.

I don't see much high class US wine in the shops here but winesearcher shows a number of Meritage designation wines available in the UK.
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

Postby Peter May » Wed Jan 24, 2007 1:35 pm

Bob Ross wrote: -- is one from the Isle of Jersey considered British? .


Let's not go there ......
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

Postby Bob Ross » Wed Jan 24, 2007 1:52 pm

"Let's not go there ......"

I agree -- a sensitive issue for some -- but Langtry is almost always called "British" in this country and on some UK sites, in the UK as well.
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

Postby Bob Ross » Wed Jan 24, 2007 1:55 pm

" winesearcher shows a number of Meritage designation wines available in the UK."

Might be earlier stock, Peter -- there were some odd bits in the EU/US trade agreement which might bear on the question. Maybe the EU negotiators traded restricting "Meritage" for grandfathering "Claret". :(

I'll post the Meritage Association's reply in due course.
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Re: cuvee and meritage?

Postby Peter May » Wed Jan 24, 2007 2:22 pm

Bob Ross wrote:"Let's not go there ......"

but Langtry is almost always called "British" in this country and on some UK sites, in the UK as well.


Yes, but almost everyone calls any sparkling wine 'champagne' in that country :D
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