Sunday, August 28, 2011

Retraction & Apology. Cellar, Not Chair

All the difference a simple "e" can make! 

My apologies to several of my friends and JustJoeP readers on my inept mis-translation of "Mis en bouteille dans nos chais."  I have told several people, at dinner, or while drinking, that this meant "put in the bottle while in our chaise lounge", or, more loosely translated 'we really don't care too much, we were phoning this batch in, lower your expectations'.  You see, I do indeed buy LOTS of Trader Joe's inexpensive wine to have as table wine.  The stuff I find is usually good, as guided by the appellations and denominazione or denominación de origen (DOC), and avoiding the MASSIVE bottlers who makes 100s of thousands of bottles a year for mass market consumption.  MANY of the Trader Joe's corks are indeed labeled "Mis en Bouteille Dans Nos Chais" which to me, evoked an image of a comfy chaise lounge - I think everyone should have a chaise lounge, your home is better for it in so many ways (chez nous, our chaise lounge has been claimed by our nearly 20 year old cat, who considers herself, the empress of the living room).

But Do Not confound the difference between "Chais" (no 'e') and "Chaise" (with an 'e') [ ne confondez pas la différence entre les deux! As my old friend Knucklesplitter used to love to say! ].  While a Chaise IS a chair, a Chais is a cellar!  The French pronounce both nearly identically (lacking a next-word liaison, where the "s" might, or might not be pronounced, google translate is full of baloney, don't listen there), and it is only through written means and context that the two can be differentiated, and when spoken in colloquial, rapid French, it is (for me at least) extremely difficult to hear the difference.  Regardless, I felt incredibly stupid and embarrassed on Friday, when I read the handy "Wine Searcher" page on cork labeling (link here). 
Bottling information:
  • EB – 'Estate Bottled'
  • MC – 'Mise en Bouteille au Château'. Estate bottled or bottled by the wine producer within the estate. 
  • Used on quality wine labels from Bordeaux in particular.
  • Mise en bouteille à la propriété – French term meaning bottled at the property
  • Mise en Bouteille au Domaine – Estate bottled. Mostly seen on Burgundy wine labels.
  • Mis en Bouteille dans nos Caves or Mis en Bouteille dans nos Chais – Bottled in our cellars.
Duh. It's "Cellars", not "Chair".   That makes much more sense.  But keep in mind, that "bottled in our cellars" is NOT as high quality as  'Mise en Bouteille au Château' usually.  "In the cellars" can often denotes that a wine negotiant, or "guy with a truck" (albeit a sophisticated, modern, and very clean truck) travelling bottler might drive up to the vineyard and bottle the wine for the vineyard owner.  It's not always lower quality than the 'au Château' wines, but it can be (a purist would tell you it is ALWAYS inferior, but I am not a purist).
I was saving my corks, but I gave a large container full of corks to "Treasures For Teachers" and they were DELIGHTED, so I will continue to donate to those nice people. 

And as you can see, the majority of the wine consumed in our home is 'Mise en Bouteille Dan Nous Chais" or, organic, or artificial corks that don't mark too well, but are usually of very good quality also (again, a purist would denounce the artifical corks, but, they work well and preserve the endangered Portuguese Cork Monkey forest habitat.).

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