Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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pre-phylloxera, term used to differentiate European, and especially French, wines made from vines before the arrival of the devastating phylloxera louse towards the end of the 19th century from those made from the vines grafted on to phylloxera-resistant American rootstocks which replaced them. In the first half of the 20th century, there was much understandable discussion about the relative merits of pre- and post-phylloxera wines with, perhaps inevitably, overall agreement that the earlier generation of wines were distinctly superior. As pointed out at the end of phylloxera, however, it was probably not the grafting itself which resulted in an apparent drop in quality, but the effects of the virus diseases imported into European vineyards along with all this phylloxera-resistant plant material from across the Atlantic.