Easter blessings in troubled times
When the French accuse the Americans of arrogance, you know we live in strange times. And when Americans feel strongly enough about a situation to change the name of their favourite junk food (French Fries to Freedom Fries) you know that the country is hopping mad. But whether the called-for boycott of all things French will come to anything is doubtful. Certainly at the moment the evidence suggests that while American consumers have principles enough to give up cheese that smells like a wino's trousers, they're finding it harder to renounce claret.
But how, in this febrile climate Stateside, did the French come to cop all the flak, you might ask? After all, they weren't the only ones to oppose the invasion of Iraq, and Germany's Gerhard Schroder has been tweaking the nose hairs of Bush and co for six months now.
"There would have been a boycott of German wine in the States as well," explained a colleague of Musty's, "but it would have been an empty gesture. No-one drinks it anyway."
As Easter approaches, Musty would like her readers to enter into the spirit of Christian forgiveness and spare a thought for those less fortunate than themselves: the Bordelais.
Apparently, producers at this year's Union des Grands Crus tasting were, downbeat, depressed, sad even. So unhappy were they that not one producer claimed it was the vintage of the century. Instead of being happy little Frenchies, they were grumbling about the raw hand that fate has dealt them.
"It's a bad year," whined one producer. "The economy is depressed and the tasting is too early - the wines aren't ready. And Robert Parker hasn't come over."
So why did He Who Must Be Obeyed stay Stateside, wondered Musty? A fear of terrorism? A high profile French boycott?
"No," said the contact. "He just doesn't think 2002 is a very exciting vintage."
When a Bordelais verges on honesty, you know that something is badly wrong.
Moving on to happier matters, Musty was delighted to hear that in Australia, wine is classified as a "prohibited export" for which special permission must be obtained.
As well as being an astute commentary on the quality of many wines from Down Under, it also puts the drink in the same 'prohibited' category as nuclear material and endangered wildlife, along with wombats, possums and Southcorp board members.
Finally, Musty has been following the success of Mecca Cola with some interest. Presumably, the company's next launch Saddam Up has been put on hold…
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