Pat Nolan Blog

Chateau Bel Histoire

It was interesting to learn at a recent wine tasting that Americans haven’t lost their sense of prudery.

Chateau Bel Air, a wine from the Lynch Bages collection, has a fairly classical label heralding the traditional image of a bare-breasted woman otherwise wreathed in flowing robes, otherwise iconic of French wine. However this did not go down well with the US powers-that-be who demanded that the company remove the offending mammaries. It now goes to the US under separate label (and in a brown paper bag?).

But Chateau Bel Air has had other problems, historically speaking. Chateau Bel Air used to be known as Villa Bel Air however too many consumers thought it was an Italian wine rather than a French one because of the ‘Villa’ reference, so it became Chateau Bel Air, named after the Chateau itself instead – and why not?

Even then, the Chateau Bel Air harbours a further twist of historical irony. It was built in St Emilion during the French Revolution but the original aristocratic owner never got to see the finished product because…. yes, you guessed it, he was beheaed before it was completed…

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