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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Braille on the label

LAST Wednesday, I was at my weekly meeting with the owners of Madeleine Bistro in Tarzana, California, fellow parents at my son's school, and happened to be there when one of their wine distributors stopped by.

He offered up this new wine, Belleruche Cote-Du-Rhone from Chapoutier. As I was handling the bottle, I noted something new able the label. While it looked like every other wine label, pressed into the label was all the wine's information in braille.

This is the first time I have seen this on any wine bottle and it intrigued me as to why this company decided to do this. A quick visit to their web site offers this explanation,

"The expression of an assertive, confident personality, Braille has been present since 1996 on all M. CHAPOUTIER labels. Far from being anecdotic, this symbol draws its origin from the very history of the Hermitage vineyard. Maurice Monier de La Sizeranne, owner of the plot of the Hermitage, la Sizeranne, is also the inventor of the first version of abbreviated Braille.
The trademark pays tribute to this man but also expresses the desire to reach out to and include all people with sight-impairments, lovers of good wines."

Now, I am going to guess that the number of blind people who patronize this wine is fairly low, it certainly lends an interesting story when you first discover the wine and are sharing it with others.

As for the wine itself, it is bright and crisp, fairly dry and quite robust. It has a bit of a bite when sampled alone, but the combination with a variety of heavier foods, like cheese, beef and heavily sauced dishes make this a real winner.

Chapoutier wines are also biodynamic. Again, from their web site,

"Love for vines and wine and the awareness of the need to respect the earth and its terroir have led the Maison M. CHAPOUTIER to adopt a biodynamic cultivation method.

This demanding method of cultivation has become a genuine philosophy for the Maison M. CHAPOUTIER. An unflinching desire: ensure that soils are living and as expressive as possible. As to propose an "appellation d'origine contrôlée" is to propose above all an expression of the terroir. This expression, a transmutation of mineral to plant, can only exist with a terroir that is in good condition, a terroir that is alive."

This makes them an option for my friend's restaurant which serves organic, vegan fare.

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