Chablis, or deadwood

21 January 2018

[Working journal while I continue to obsessively assemble a project of dubious interest & limited appeal. Previously: Hatzidakis. Huet. J.B. Becker & Eva Fricke. Prévost, and Chartogne-Taillet. Lelarge-Pugeot, Brochet, Agrapart, Ulysses Collin, and others. More general stuff about barbarians, sugar, and coats-of-arms. A now-outdated introduction. Revisions.]


Let’s talk chardonnay for a second. Still known occasionally in Chablis by one of its many aliases, beaunois (‘from Beaune’), the white grape of the region didn’t start going by its modern spelling until the beginning of the 20th century. By then the name (original 17th century spelling: chardonnet) had converged with the village of Chardonnay down in southern Burgundy, in the Mâconnais. It may or may not actually have originated around there, but soundalikes have their own power. The village’s name comes from the vegetation: thistles (Latin carduus, Old French chardon). Chardonnet is also Old French for goldfinch, “a bird that haunts the thistle,” known also in German literally as the “thistle-finch,” or distelfink.

So, chardonnay: vine from the thistle-covered place.

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