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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Neil Beckett

The arrival of US giant Gallo would be beneficial, and Appellations d'Origine Contrle d'Excllence (AOCE) detrimental, for Bordeaux. Such is the view of Gilles Dupuch, a member of the CIVB and proprietor of Chteau Ste-Marie in the Premires Ctes de Bordeaux. Speaking at a dinner after a tasting of 515 Bordeaux wines in London on 24 May, an event organised by CIVB and the UK Bordeaux Wine Bureau (Peretti Communications), Dupuch told Harpers that rumours of the acquisition of Castel Frres by Gallo, or a JV between the two, persisted in Bordeaux. He said that such a move would benefit the region as a whole by counteracting the prevailing individualism and providing 'a leader' with the power to take on large New World brands. He doubted, however, whether other non-French organisations would invest in the region in the way that AXA and LVMH have, since the returns would be unlikely to satisfy shareholders. While acknowledging the need to distinguish the greater efforts and results of the best producers, whose wines have never been better, Dupuch said he was far from convinced that AOCE would work in Bordeaux. As well as taking exception to the term 'Excllence', he suspected that there were already too many other hierarchies (the 1855 Classification on the Left Bank, the different St-Emilion classifications on the Right, and so on), and wondered how many syndicats would choose to superimpose another layer.