US Tour: February 2008
à fond


The walls may need paint but the grapes are now pressed... and in bottles!

échantillon (ay-shahn-tee-yon) noun, masculine
  : sample, tester (product)

In French reference books: the French/French dictionary on my desk. I'm just itching for an updated version like this one.

On our kitchen table I see échantillons,* shiny and black! Row after row of unlabeled bottles behind which a very weary Frenchman stands--there, in the back...

Chestnut tresses, once close-cut and well-kempt, fall almost to his shoulders which slump in ressentiment:* to every hair however stray, those shoulders seem to say, "Halt! We can carry no more weight! Go away!"

The belt around his waist is loose, though fixed at its last notch; it is as if the lost pounds--all twenty--have poured forth from a heavy heart and into those bottles: blood, sweat, and tears preceded the wine inside, and behind every passion there is pain.

I study my winemaker husband, who seems oblivious to his success. "Aren't you proud of yourself?" I say. "Look at what you have accomplished!" Jean-Marc searches the kitchen for a permanent marker: he has 60 bottles to pack and ship--and under 48 hours in which to do it!

"Oui... oui chérie..."* he assures me, unconvincingly.

As I stand there, trying to understand my husband's behavior, my eyes lock on the rows and rows of bottles whereupon my vision blurs; when it returns I see not bottles... but books! The box beside the table now reads "Simon & Schuster". Fifty hot-off-the-press books stare back at me. My name--in all caps--is written across the cover of each and every bound biography. I touch the books and wait for that On Top of the World feeling to hit. I wait, and wait. I give up and go and do some laundry.

Two years later and here I stand. Arms around my husband, we look over a small sea of bottles: the Fruits of Labor. I think about how fruits are overrated. It is the labor that lends meaning.

There, in the silence, Jean-Marc and I share the unmystical moment: holy unto itself. You know the worn-out saying--"worn" being key: "It is the journey and not the destination." As well:

It is the work and not the final presentation
It is in the blood, sweat, and tears --
that one feels that deep-seated rumble of elation.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~French Vocabulary~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

un échantillon (m) = sample; le ressentiment (m) = resentment; oui...oui chéri(e) = yes... yes dear

      Families of the Vine: Seasons Among the Winemakers of Southwest France

:: Audio File & Quote ::
Listen to my daughter pronounce today's French word:
Dieu ...est l'Universel, le Vrai même, et tout le reste en est un échantillon. God... is the universal, the true itself, of which all the rest is an example. --Friedrich Hegel
Download echantillon.mp3
Download echantillon.wav
FRENCH in 10 minutes a day is a fun, dynamic and engaging way to begin your love affair with French.
French Country Diary 2008 (Calendar)
French cosmetics: Caudalie: A true Vinotherapie® Spa experience
French film: La Vie en Rose
Wouldn't that make a great book title? For now, it is the headline of an invitation... to you! Jean-Marc & I will be touring the US west coast next month, presenting wines from Domaine Rouge-Bleu--we'll have books* with us, too. Click here for more information.

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety