Saturday, 18 June 2011

Wine Bottles

Wine is big business round here. Cormatin itself used to have vineyards on the hillside where the Garage de Bougogne now stands, on the road to Saint-Gengoux-le-National,
and the main street in Cormatin used to have wine makers, wine merchants, a wine barrel maker and a distillery which made Marc de Bourgogne out of the leftovers of the grapes after the juice has been pressed out of them. Even La Tuilerie had its own little vineyard on the other side of the Chazelle – Chazeux road. The wine was made using the winepress that still stands in the old tile drying shed. To hear the stories from older neighbours, Monsieur Martin’s wine was legendary round here for being truly undrinkable ! Maybe it is good that his winemaking technique and recipes were not passed on to us with the deeds of the house.

We buy our most of our wine in the Cave Cooperative in Saint-Gengoux-le-National and we even have a loyalty card with them which they stamp every time we spend 30 Euros.
On the fifth lot of 30 Euros you get a bottle of Côte Chalonaise, on the 16th you get a magnum (1.5 litres) of the same and so it goes on with various gifts increasing in value until with the 50th stamp you get 3 bottles of vintage Premier Cru. Just imagine how upset I was when we got within two stamps of this prize and some nasty so and so pinched my purse in Barcelona with the loyalty card in it when we were on holiday a couple of years ago and all that loyalty was lost in one fell swoop and what is more annoying whoever pinched it didn’t even get the wine.

In the cave in Saint-Gengoux they have a number of the larger bottles lined up near the cash desk and I always look at them and wonder what they are called and how big they are, whilst waiting in the queue to pay. When we made a visit to the tiny Musée du Tonnelier (a museum about barrel making) in one of the little cobbled back-streets in Saint Gengoux the other day, I saw on display a row of all the sizes of bottles used around here and I was quite thrilled to finally see all their names and their sizes; so here is the list:
Melchior, Nebuchadnezzar, Balthazar, Salmanazar, Methuselah, Jeroboam, Magnum, Bottle, Fillette, Chopine. Respectively 24, 20, 16, 12, 8, 4, 2, 1, 1/2 , 1/3 of a bottle. How the heck one would pour a Melchior at 18 kg of liquid plus the weight of the bottle is beyond me. When I was checking the English spellings of these bottles, I spotted that Champagne bottles go up even bigger, right up to Melchizedek at 40 bottles or 30 litres, you would need a fork lift truck to get that one off the ground.

I don’t think we will be buying any of the big bottles very soon, although on our next visit we are due to receive a Magnum of some sort or another, but we still have to wait at least another 20 stamps before we finally get to taste the Premier Cru.

For more information about the holiday houses we have to rent see La Tuilerie website.

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