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Entries from February 2005

la vedette

une vedette (vuh-det) noun, feminine
1. (movie) star
2. patrol boat

Expressions:
en vedette = in the limelight
une vedette de cinema = a movie star
avoir la vedette = to be in the spotlight, in the headlines
jouer les vedettes = to act like a star
mettre en vedette = to put emphasis on, to put in evidence (product)
ravir la vedette à quelqu'un = to steal the show from someone
partager la vedette = to share the limelight (with someone)

.........................
Citation du Jour:
Une vedette, c'est quelqu'un qui travaille dur pour être connu et qui, ensuite, porte des lunettes noires pour qu'on ne le reconnaisse pas.

A celebrity is a person who works hard all his life to become well known, then wears dark glasses to avoid being recognised.
--Fred Allen

......................................
A Day in a French Life...

Recommended Reading: don't miss the story, now a book, that originally accompanied this edition and included the following vocabulary:

le mistral (m) = a cold, dry wind in S. of France; une camionnette (f) = a small van; le banc (m) = bench; ordinaire = ordinary; hyper = very; le petit coin (m) = the bathroom; Allez-y = Go ahead; refait = redone (surgically); tape-à-l'oeil (from tapper à l'oeil = to hit the eye)

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"Bonjour, Kristin, I have enjoyed your blog now for a great number of years, watching your children grow up, your moves from house to house, enjoying your stories and photos and your development as a writer. It's way past time for me to say MERCI with a donation to your blog...which I've done today. Bien amicalement!"--Gabrielle


coller

St Tropez (c) Kristin Espinasse

coller (ko-lay) verb
  1. to paste, stick, glue
  2. to adhere, cling (to)

Expressions:
Ça colle? = How are things?; That'll work
être pot de colle = to be a nuisance
coller une gifle a quelqu'un = to slap someone in the face
se coller avec quelqu'un = to shack up with someone
poser une colle = to ask a difficult question
se faire coller à un examen = to fail an exam
coller son oreille à la porte = to press one's ear to the door, to eavesdrop

..........................
Citation du Jour:
Si ce sont les plumes qui font le plumage, ce n'est pas la colle qui fait le collage.

If it is the feathers that make the plumage, it is not the glue that makes the collage.
--Max Ernst

.......................................
A Day in a French Life...

I sent out yesterday's word a bit tôt* so that I could accompany my husband to St. Tropez. After preparing the edition, I set about preparing myself. What does a woman wear to the world-renown mecca of chic? If you were to ask me that question, I'd have to reply: "Vous m'avez posé une colle!"*

I polished my boots with a stick of liquid brown instant shoe polish, borrowed my husband's cologne, brushed my hair to and fro and to again, finally digging out a can of hairspray left by a houseguest two summers ago.

I packed my appareil photo,* a notebook and pen, Carmex, and my lunettes de soleil.* I slid into the passenger seat, giddy as a gamine,* and waited in the car for Jean-Marc.

Sitting quiet as a mulot,* stiff as the lacquer on my head, afraid that motion--even one millimeter of it--might disrupt the colorful kaleidoscope of images, the technicolor collage of impressions, now projecting in my mind, I invited the voyage to begin.

................................................................................................................
*References: tôt = early; vous m'avez posé une colle = you've asked me a difficult question; un appareil photo (m) = a camera; les lunettes de soleil (f) = sunglasses; un gamin (une gamine) = a child; un mulot (f) = a field mouse

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Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue doing what I love most: sharing vocabulary and cultural insights via these personal stories from France. Your contribution is vivement appréciée! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
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"Bonjour, Kristin, I have enjoyed your blog now for a great number of years, watching your children grow up, your moves from house to house, enjoying your stories and photos and your development as a writer. It's way past time for me to say MERCI with a donation to your blog...which I've done today. Bien amicalement!"--Gabrielle


serré

serré,e (sehr-ay) adjective
  1. tight
  2. close
  3. cramped, dense

Also:
un café serré = a strong espresso coffee, one that is "bien tassé" or
"short in the cup" as opposed to un café allongé (in which the
contents reach the top of the cup, and the coffee is less strong)

....................
Expressions:
être serré = to be tight, low on money
les dents serrées = clenched teeth
avoir le coeur serré = to have a heavy heart; to be sad
jouer serré = to play a cautious game; to take no chances
serrés comme des harengs, des sardines =  packed like sardines
avoir la gorge serrée = to have a tight throat; to be speechless from emotion

..............................
Citation du Jour:

Peut-être l'art n'est-il que la volonté quotidienne de se tenir serré contre l'impossible perfection.

Maybe art is no more than the daily will to protect oneself from impossible perfection.
                                                                                   --René-Salvator Catta

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Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue doing what I love most: sharing vocabulary and cultural insights via these personal stories from France. Your contribution is vivement appréciée! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
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"Bonjour, Kristin, I have enjoyed your blog now for a great number of years, watching your children grow up, your moves from house to house, enjoying your stories and photos and your development as a writer. It's way past time for me to say MERCI with a donation to your blog...which I've done today. Bien amicalement!"--Gabrielle


bouder

bouder (boo-day) verb
  1. to pout or sulk

Also:
la bouderie (f) = sulkiness, (fit of the) sulks
un boudoir = a ladyfinger (finger-shaped cookie, cake)

.....................
Expressions:
bouder quelqu'un = to refuse to have anything to do with someone
avoir des succès de boudoir = to be successful with women

....................
Proverb:
La bouderie en amour est comme le sel ; il n'en faut pas trop.
Sulkiness in love is like salt; you mustn't have too much.

......................................
A Day in a French Life...

"Do you want me to take the kids to school?" I say, sure that my husband will drive them, seeing he is almost finished shaving.
"Si tu peux le faire, ce sera bien. If you can do it, that would be good."

Somewhere between seeing his mousse-covered chin and hearing his request, it occurs to me that he is going somewhere.

"Ou tu vas? Where are you going?"
"En tournée."*
"Prospecting where?"
"In St. Raphael."
"St Raphael?"

My mind fills with visions of the foamy sea, sandy beaches, beachfront cafés and brasseries, the boardwalk, the marché, the glamorous Belle Epoque architecture... when suddenly a pulsion* overcomes me. The pulsion to pout.

"I didn't know you were going prospecting today..." I say.
"Well, do you want to come with me?" Jean-Marc offers.
"I can't come with you. I have work to do!"
"That's what I thought," my husband replies.
I abruptly leave the bathroom; in my wake, a piercing silence.

In 1994 the only conseil* Jean-Marc's ailing grandmother gave us before we married was to "ne pas bouder -- to not pout." I had to look up the word just as soon as I returned from her modest apartment in Lyon to our studio in Marseilles, not quite sure I wanted to ask my husband-to-be what it meant.

"Germaine," as she was called, was a tough woman who saw the collapse of a family fortune. In Morocco, after the war, she peddled house linens from her Estafette (a converted military supply vehicle) to support four children. When her husband, a prisoner of war, returned from la guerre,* Germaine continued to "wear the pants," selling her linens door-to-door, while her husband went seaside to cast out horrific war images along with his fishing line.

Our first encounter had me watching the once-authoritarian-now-frail woman eat the eyes right out of the fish on the plate before her. Apart from her advice to "not sulk" she taught me where all those forks, knives and spoons belong on the French table, at once thoughtful about her bourgeoisie upbringing, and méprisante* of it.

From "bouder" comes the noun "boudoir," which originally meant "a place to sulk in."  Though the dictionary says that a boudoir is "un petit salon de dame"* -- it is really nothing more fancy or exciting than a pouting room.

I return to my sulking place, and continue to work and sniff.
"We'll leave in 10 minutes?" my husband says, popping his head in from the hall.
"I didn't say I was going."
"Well, if you change your mind, know that I am leaving in ten minutes."

I continue to "faire la tête" or "be in the sulks" while Jean-Marc prepares for his surely glamorous tor-nay* along the French Riviera.

Pecking at my faded keyboard, staring into the hospital-room-white screen above it, I obsess about my husband's freedom with an enthusiasm reserved for a sour, steam iron-yielding housewife:

"Mr. Espinasse goes to the sunny Riviera. Mr. Espinasse has a rendez-vous. Shall I take your coat, sir? Mr. Espinasse would like the plat du jour. Would Mr. Espinasse like champagne with his foie gras?"

My boo-fest is short-lived and I know that, in reality, my husband is lugging 18-kilo boxes of wine from one cave* to another, navigating medieval one-way roads trying to find parking in an obscure French village, weaving in and out of traffic, struggling to get to the basketball court in time to pick up our son at the end of the day. I know that for lunch he will probably stop at a grimy roadside service-station and pick up one of those preservative-rich salmon (salmonella?) sandwiches and a bitter cup of instant coffee.

Meanwhile I will be lugging words from brain to key board. To my left, a café-au-lait. Before me, the adventure of my choice, if I will but find the words to transport me there.

"Do you know what the word 'boudoir' means?" I say, out of breath, catching up to my husband who is loading cases of wine into the Citroën.
"Comment? What's that?"
"Boo-dwaar. It's French."
"No. I don't know that word. What does it mean?" he says, opening the car door for me.
"Nothing much," I say, springing into the car and fastening my seatbelt.

Boudoir: a noun better used to represent sunshine-yellow, dainty sponge cakes,* than dark, fleeting moods. Bouder, a verb to flee, whether by hopping into your husband's Citroën, or by taking a similar break from the train-train* of daily life.

.........................................................................................................
Words_in_a_french_life Words in a French Life: "...a heart-winning collection from an American woman raising two very French children with her French husband in Provence, carrying on a lifelong love affair with the language."
...........................................................................................................
References: une pulsion (f) = an impulse; un conseil (m) = a piece of advice; la guerre (f) = war; méprisante = contemptuous, scornful; un petit salon de dame (m) = a woman's sitting room; tor-nay (pronunciation for tournée (f) = a sales round); une cave (f) = cellar; a miniature oval sponge cake in French is also a "boudoir"; le train-train (m) = routine

Boudoir, the fluffy cake, is also known as a Ladyfinger. Don't miss this book, with many more food expressions:

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Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue doing what I love most: sharing vocabulary and cultural insights via these personal stories from France. Your contribution is vivement appréciée! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
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"Bonjour, Kristin, I have enjoyed your blog now for a great number of years, watching your children grow up, your moves from house to house, enjoying your stories and photos and your development as a writer. It's way past time for me to say MERCI with a donation to your blog...which I've done today. Bien amicalement!"--Gabrielle


About

Photographer

French Word-A-Day
began in 1999 when a desert rat from Phoenix decided to share a piece of Provence from her office in the various cafés along the French Riviera. While trying to buy time at a euro ten per coffee, the writer came up with a plan to distribute her "café letters" from France. What began as an earnest attempt at freelance journalism, eventually worked itself into a more suitable self-made mêtier as resident "French Word Artisan."  The handwritten café letters became blog posts, and the blog posts became books.

Although I majored in French, I still struggle daily with the language. Luckily I have two built-in tutors, my son Max and my daughter Jackie, who have taken it upon themselves to straighten out my language faux pas. Sometimes I get a bit miffed and remind them that I spoke French before they did, but they just stare back, heads shaking in disbelief.

 

1990. Aix-en-Provence. While on a language exchange program from Arizona State University, I was dancing the night away wholly devoted to study when I met my future (French) husband. Not two years later, I packed three cardboard U-Haul boxes and said adieu to the Phoenix desert. 
            

By Adrian Leeds
It was a dream come true to speak at Shakespeare & Company Bookshop. Photo by Adrian Leeds.
      
About Words in a French Life published by Simon and Schuster:

Based on the popular blog and newsletter with thousands of subscribers -- a heart-winning collection from an American woman raising two very French children with her French husband in Provence, carrying on a lifelong love affair with the language.

Imagine a former French major getting vocabulary tips from her young children! That was the experience of Kristin Espinasse, an American who fell in love with a Frenchman and moved to his country to marry him and start a family. When her children began learning the language, she found herself falling in love with it all over again. To relate the stories of her sometimes bumpy, often comic, and always poignant assimilation, she created a blog in the tradition of books such as A Year in Provence and Almost French, drawing more admirers than she ever could have imagined.

With an approach that is as charming as it is practical, Espinasse shares her story through the everyday French words and phrases that never seem to make it to American classrooms. "Comptoir" ("counter") is a piece about the intricacies of grocery shopping in France, and "Linge" ("laundry") swoons over the wonderful scent the laundry has after being hung out in the French countryside, while "Toquade" ("crush") tells of Espinasse's young son, who begins piling gel onto his hair before school each morning when he becomes smitten with a girl in class. Steeped in French culture but experienced through American eyes, Words in a French Life will delight armchair travelers, Francophiles, and mothers everywhere.

                                       Reviews of Words in a French Life:

Take a great trip with a memorable travel book.” Real Simple Magazine

“Espinasse recounts her adventures with honesty and humor, never afraid to have a good laugh at her own expense.” Publishers Weekly

“Charming…the essays exude a warm familiarity and include situations familiar to families and travelers everywhere.”
Library Journal

"Living in Provence for over 10 years with her French husband and children, Espinasse imparts her wisdom via humorous short stories about daily life, an excellent vehicle for learning vocabulary." --France Today

Le Mariage
1994-Getting married in Marseilles. One of us looks like she won the lottery.

"Espinasse's "definitions" come from her everyday experiences, particularly those provoked by her children's frequent delight at their mother's mistakes, misuses, and mispronunciation of words... Beginning students of conversational French will profit from many of these brief entries, and supplemental tables of expressions go far to demystify French idioms for anyone wishing to speak and write more fluent French." American Library Association

"A former Phoenix resident and a self-publishing success story, Espinasse parlays her popular blog (french-word-a -day.com) into a book-length reflection on life as an émigré." --Arizona Republic

Reader reviews:
"This isn't the France of travel magazines and guidebooks. It is France seen with the discerning eye of a writer, the loving heart of a mother and the self-effacing wit of an easy-going American in the land of women who iron their children's pajamas. The book's format - weaving French lessons into vignettes of her life in South France - is quite unique and I loved learning the kind of colloquial French I didn't get in classes. But what makes the book so special is Espinasse's humanity. Anyone can describe lavender, cobblestones and the pecadilloes of the French, but here is a woman who notices the little ironies and blessings in everyday life common to us all and has the talent to render them with humor, grace and charm. Even after I finished, I kept picking it up to reread. It's that good." --Helena Wallace

"A perfect book for lovers of France and the French language, for armchair travelers and wishful thinkers - and for newcomers who wish to understand more of the mysterious French ways! ...For some years I've been one of the lucky e-mail subscribers to Kristin Espinasse's French-Word-A-Day writings (on which the book is based), providing wonderfully witty, humorous and helpful, poetic and profound insights into her life in France. We share her children's growing up in France, we are informed about her husband's work in his vineyards, we get to know her relationship with neighbors and friends, we read about those precious moments when her adopted country generously opens up new horizons for thought and outlook on life in general and especially in France. Always her observations are presented with great respect for the people she meets, never putting them down, yet keeping just enough distance to see and listen to them with a writer's mind. If you want to get into a French mood, if you plan to travel to France, virtual or otherwise, or if you just want to be entertained in an amusing, intelligent and uplifting way, this book is truly a must-have. It not only includes those lovingly detailed stories but provides helpful examples on proper use of words and phrases. Oh, and yes, you do brush up your French in a most entertaining and easy fashion: learning a language can indeed be fun!" (reader in Carcassonne, France)

"Terrific book! As an American wanting to pick up more French, I find "Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love and Language from the South of France" a simply delightful read. This is a great book to pick up and read the very well written and reflective antidotes. As a librarian, I will make sure this book is available at our library. Kristen touches my soul with each chapter as a parent, a lover of the French language, one married to an immigrant...and oh,on so many levels. I find myself associating with her writing "from the heart". She truly speaks the language, the tongue of many with finesse! Love this book. Tres bien! Encore, encore!!" --J. McArdle

Thank you for checking out Words in a French Life--and the follow up books Blossoming in Provence and First French Essais. Your book purchase helps to keep this French word journal going!

Smokey "R" Dokey
Our dear Smokey says, You can do it. Just follow your dream to France!  Help someone to pursue their French dream, by sharing this educational blog. Click on a share button (just below).

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Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue doing what I love most: sharing vocabulary and cultural insights via these personal stories from France. Your contribution is vivement appréciée! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
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"Bonjour, Kristin, I have enjoyed your blog now for a great number of years, watching your children grow up, your moves from house to house, enjoying your stories and photos and your development as a writer. It's way past time for me to say MERCI with a donation to your blog...which I've done today. Bien amicalement!"--Gabrielle


Contact information

Regarding e-mails...

Thank you very much for taking the time to write. If you have not received a reply to your email, and it requires a response, please resend it. Sometimes your emails and/or my replies get intercepted, or thrown out accidentally, due to an overzealous anti-spam/filtering system (yours or mine!). 

I appreciate your feedback, suggestions and corrections and welcome them at kristin.espinasse AT gmail.com

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Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue doing what I love most: sharing vocabulary and cultural insights via these personal stories from France. Your contribution is vivement appréciée! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
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"Bonjour, Kristin, I have enjoyed your blog now for a great number of years, watching your children grow up, your moves from house to house, enjoying your stories and photos and your development as a writer. It's way past time for me to say MERCI with a donation to your blog...which I've done today. Bien amicalement!"--Gabrielle


nu

nu, nue (new) adjective
  1. naked, nude
  2. uncovered
  3. bare, plain, unadorned

noun
1. nude (in art)

Expressions:
être pieds nus = to be bare-footed
à main nue = bare-handed
la vérité nue = the plain truth
mettre à nu = to expose, to lay bare
à l'oeil nu = to the naked eye
nu comme un ver = (naked as a worm) stark naked
monter un cheval à nu = to ride bareback

................................
Citation du Jour
Écrire, c'est se cacher derrière les mots tout en se mettant à nu.
To write, is to hide oneself behind words while exposing oneself.

--Claudine Paquet

...........................................
A Day in a French Life...

(The story that accompanied this column, and included the French vocabulary below, is now a part of this book.)

.....................
*References:  pieds nus (mpl) = bare feet; mon héros (m) = my hero

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Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue doing what I love most: sharing vocabulary and cultural insights via these personal stories from France. Your contribution is vivement appréciée! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
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"Bonjour, Kristin, I have enjoyed your blog now for a great number of years, watching your children grow up, your moves from house to house, enjoying your stories and photos and your development as a writer. It's way past time for me to say MERCI with a donation to your blog...which I've done today. Bien amicalement!"--Gabrielle


une bouteille

Bouteille = bottle (c) Kristin Espinasse Today you can read Jean-Marc's article in English.

une bouteille (boo-tay) noun, feminine
1. bottle

Expressions:
une bouteille à la mer = a message of distress
avoir de la bouteille = to have experience
une bouteille à l'encre = a confused situation
être dans la bouteille = to be in on a secret
porter les bouteilles = (to carry bottles) to walk carefully
voir les choses par le trou d'une bouteille = (to see life through the opening of a bottle) to have a narrow perspective on life

..........................
Citation du Jour:
L'optimisme est un ersatz de l'espérance, qu'on peut rencontrer facilement partout, et même au fond de la bouteille.

Optimism is an ersatz of hope, that we can easily encounter anywhere, even at the bottom of the bottle. --Georges Bernanos

............................................................
Uncorked !     by Jean-Marc Espinasse

You may ask yourself just why, for a while now, synthetic corks have replaced most of the natural corks in bottled wine.

In fact, there are many reasons:

The most obvious reason of all is the elimination of the taste that cork can bring to wine ["cork taint"] which is so frustrating, particularly when the bottle is a special one.

Another explanation comes from the fact that world production of cork is limited, especially these last few years, as Portugal, which is the leading producer, has been ravaged by fires that have destroyed a great part of these cork oak trees.

At the same time, world production of wines has not ceased to grow with the arrival of wines from the new world (North America, Chile, Australia, South Africa). So it was necessary to find other solutions for sealing bottles of wine.

But the main reason comes from the actual utility of the cork. Originally, it permitted not only closure of the bottle but also for the wine to be in slight contact with the air, and therefore age slowly and in the best conditions. It should be noted that in the past (up until the 80's), wines were made the hard way and it was necessary to wait a few years before being able to drink and appreciate them at their true value. The natural cork, therefore, had its usefulness.

Today, wine consumption habits have greatly changed. We buy wine at 7 p.m. and drink it at 7:30 p.m. If that's not such a typical scenario, then one should simply note that wines are quickly consumed. And for this, they must be made in such a way that enables them to be appreciated young. These wines are less concentrated, more fragile regarding oxidation and won't get better with aging. A plastic cork, which is almost completely hermetic, permits these wines to keep their freshness and fruity taste and will also better protect them from
oxidation which might degrade them. Of course, this reasoning is not to be used for great wines (ones which should be aged) which continue to be sealed with real cork.

At last, the plastic cork enables marketing, an element that has become so important in commercial aspects, to express itself, notably by the range of colors and by a personal logo which is easier to create on the plastic cork.

Now, if you have plastic corked bottles hanging around your cellar, you can, without scruples, go and grab one and drink it to my health.

Cheers !
Jean-Marc

Jean-Marc ESPINASSE is a French wine lover. Apart from managing, along with his uncle, a little family vineyard in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, he is selecting "soulful wines" throughout France, Spain and Italy to offer to US wine importers. He is also educating people in wine, mainly in corporate companies but also in schools like the Wine MBA program in Bordeaux. Write to him at: contact@a-la-recherche-du-vin.com

Families of the Vine : Seasons Among the Winemakers of Southwest France "Sanders’s book brings contemporary winemaking in France to life....Absorbing and informative." --Library Journal

Has a friend forwarded you this post? Receive your own FREE subscription to French Word-A-Day. Click here

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue doing what I love most: sharing vocabulary and cultural insights via these personal stories from France. Your contribution is vivement appréciée! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
♥ Send $10    
♥ Send $25    
♥Send the amount of your choice

"Bonjour, Kristin, I have enjoyed your blog now for a great number of years, watching your children grow up, your moves from house to house, enjoying your stories and photos and your development as a writer. It's way past time for me to say MERCI with a donation to your blog...which I've done today. Bien amicalement!"--Gabrielle


un bouchon

Today's column is written by my wine-loving husband, Jean-Marc, a.k.a. "Jimmy," and is in French. I promise to post the English version tomorrow. In the meantime, you get to strain your brain by pulling out the "dictionnaire" and becoming familiar with some of the words in his article below. As for moi, I will be a few hundred meters from the Mediterranean Sea, visiting some vineyards and drinking in salty images and grape-colored impressions. While my husband spits out the wine, I'll be thinking about what to "cracher sur la page" when I get back. 

le bouchon (boo-shon) noun, masculine
  1. cap, top; stopper; cork; float (fishing)
  2. traffic jam

.....................
Expressions:
un vin bouchonné = wine with a cork taste
un bouchon de carafe (carafe stopper) = a big diamond
pousser le bouchon un peu loin = to exaggerate a little
prendre du bouchon = to age
Y mettre un bouchon = to shut up
C'est plus fort que de jouer au bouchon! = That's incredible!


Proverb:
A bon vin, il ne faut point de bouchon.
As for a good wine, a cork is unneccessary.


............................................................
Uncorked !     by Jean-Marc Espinasse

Vous vous demandez peut-être pourquoi depuis quelques temps les bouchons synthétiques ont remplacé la plupart des bouchons naturels en liège des bouteilles de vin.

La raison est en fait multiple :

La plus évidente aux yeux de tous est l'élimination des goûts de bouchons que le liège peut apporter au vin et qui est si frustrant, surtout lorsque la bouteille est spéciale.

Une autre explication provient du fait que la production mondiale de liège est limitée, d'autant plus que ces dernières années, le Portugal qui en est le premier producteur, a été ravagé par des feux qui ont détruit une grande partie de ses chênes lièges.

Dans un même temps, la production mondiale de vins n'a cessé d'augmenter avec l'arrivée des vins du nouveau monde. Il a donc fallu trouver d'autres solutions pour boucher les bouteilles de vin.

Mais la raison principale provient de l'utilité même du bouchon. A l'origine, il permettait non seulement de boucher la bouteille mais aussi de permettre au vin d'être en très leger contact avec l'air et donc vieillir lentement dans les meilleures conditions. Il faut dire que dans le passé (jusqu'au milieu des années 80), les vins étaient élaborés « à la dure », et il fallait attendre quelques années avant de pouvoir les boire et les apprécier à leur juste valeur. Le bouchon en liège avait donc toute son utilité. De nos jours, les habitudes de consommation de vin ont bien changé. On achète un vin à 19H00 et on le boit à 19H30. Si cela est quelque peu caractérisé, il faut bien constater que les vins sont bus rapidement. Et pour cela, il faut donc les élaborer de façon à ce qu'ils puissent être apprécié dans leur jeunesse. Ces vins sont moins concentrés, plus fragiles à l'oxydation et n'ont aucun intérêt à vieillir. Un bouchon en plastique, qui est presque totalement hermétique, permettra alors au vin de garder toute
sa fraîcheur et son fruit. Bien sûr, ce raisonnement n'est pas valable pour les grands vins de garde qui continuent à être bouchés avec du liège.

Enfin, le bouchon en plastique permet au marketing, élément devenu si important dans les aspects commerciaux, de s'exprimer notamment par le
jeu des couleurs et par un marquage personnalisé beaucoup plus facile à réaliser.

Maintenant, si vous avez des bouteilles avec des bouchons plastiques qui traînent dans votre cave, vous pouvez sans scrupules aller en cherchez une et boire à ma santé.

Cheers !
Jean-Marc ESPINASSE

Families of the Vine : Seasons Among the Winemakers of Southwest France "Sanders’s book brings contemporary winemaking in France to life....Absorbing and informative." --Library Journal

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