Wine Wednesday Wordologie: “O” is for “Oenothèque”

Wine Wed Word Oenotheque 1

I have a confession to make: this week’s Word Wednesday Wordologie vocabulary term of effervescence was chosen solely because it’s just such a fun word. A fun, French word. So put on your beret; sweetly purse your lips; and let’s say this week’s word with our worst best French accent:

Oenothèque {click here to learn how to say it}

Now wasn’t that fun?! Such a très chic word, no?

Oenothèque literally translates to “wine library.” I don’t know about you, but that translation gives me a visual of bottles upon bottles of delicious wines lining all the walls of a building from floor to ceiling. It just makes me all tingly thinking about it…

Now THIS is a wine library. {image courtesy of Texas de Brazil}

Now THIS is a wine library. {image courtesy of Texas de Brazil}

So, essentially a Oenothèque is a place where one can peruse, purchase, and/or drink a great deal of wine, such as a wine bar or wine cellar. Although there aren’t any places in the US that I’m aware of that actually refer to themselves an oenothèque, there are places in France that do.

Wine Wed Word Oenotheque 2

In addition, there are a few wines that are described using the term as well. What constitutes an Oeno wine? To find out we have to delve into the champagne making process a bit, so let’s get to it my bubbly-loving darlings!

As you already know, champagne starts off as a still, dry, base wine. A mixture of sugar and yeast is added to the wine and then it is bottled.  It is here that a second fermentation takes place that gives champagne the effervescence it is known {and loved} for. The yeast cells feast on the sugar, and after that process is complete a sediment forms in the bottles called “lees.” Authentic, French champagne is required to age at least 15 months, and as it ages the lees release flavors into the wine. The longer the ageing process, the deep and more complex the flavors become.

Oenothèque wines will see ageing of 10, 15, 20 years or more. As such, they are quite expensive. Dom Perignon has been regaled for years for their Oenothèque champagne {NOTE: in a re-branding of the Oenotheque series, Dom Perignon has re-released the 1998 vintage under the new name P2 to represent the wine’s second ‘plenitude’) that is aged for years in cellars.

{image courtesy of}

{image courtesy of}

I’ve also got another reason why should you learn this vocabulary word. Envision this:

One day soon you will go to France. And while you are there, you and your traveling companion(s) will get thirsty. Very, very thirsty. As you are traipsing around, to trying to figure out where to go to satiate your thirst, you will suddenly look up and see a sign that says “Oenothèque Georges Burrier.” And you will make a quick turn on your heels to start heading in that direction. Then your traveling companion(s) will say “Hey! Where are you going?” And you will respond smugly, “Oh, you can’t read French? We’re thirsty so we should go over here to the wine bar.”

And in that moment you will score cool points. Mad, crazy cool points. All because you read this Wine Wednesday Wordologie post.

You’re welcome.