Interesting article by Elaine Sciolino in today's New York Times on the brouhaha over the proposed expansion of Champagne's AOC, increasing the number of communes legally permitted to grow grapes to be made into champagne. The reason? Increased demand for the bubbles around the world.
As I say, it's a good piece. But I would wager that the guts of the real story lurk in these two paragraphs (emphasis added):
For the most part, the 40 proposed communes fill in holes in existing Champagne areas, much of it near the Champagne centers of Reims and Épernay, rather than extending the perimeter. For reasons that have yet to be explained, Germaine and Orbais-l’Abbaye, two of the villages in the Marne region that currently enjoy Champagne-growing status, would be thrown out.
Complicating matters, identities of the government-appointed experts who chose the 40 communes are secret, raising suspicions about their impartiality.
I bet the reasons haven't been explained! Raising suspicions? I'll say! Impartiality? What a concept. In fairness to Ms Sciolino, the dry fashion in which these paragraphs are written hints she knows full well what's going on here: her tone suggests half a raised eyebrow at least).
It's odds-on that there's a juicy tale of cronyism and corruption to explain what will doubtless be a set of logic-defying recommendations once the final proposals are submitted.