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Cotillion chardonnay

I have very rarely bought wine just because I liked the label. But when I saw this chardonnay at Trader Joe’s, I laughed out loud at the label and bought a bottle.

It’s a so-so chardonnay, barely worth the price at $8.99. It’s a blend of grapes from three counties — Sonoma (63 percent), Napa (20 percent) and Monterey (17 percent). That’s an entirely agreeable blend of California chardonnay regions, but still the wine falls short.

Another thing that fascinates me about this wine is the word cotillion. That’s a type of country dance, of course, similar to a quadrille. Our American square dance is a quadrille (and therefore a cotillion), I believe. In fact the word quadrille relates to squareness and the number four. Apparently the word quadrille fascinated Lewis Carroll, since he wrote the poem “The Lobster Quadrille” for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

As for the word cotillion, it comes to English from a French word, cotillon, which means petticoat. An unabridged French dictionary says that cotillon also refers to party novelties such as confetti and streamers. Another French dictionary, tout en français, (the abbey has lots of dictionaries) defines cotillion thus: Divertissement composé de danses et de jeux avec accessoires (chapeaux, serpentins, confettis, etc.) et qui clôt le bal. So cotillion is the precise word for what the animals are doing in the label. They’re winding up the barnyard ball with a wild dance with festive accessories.

These days I’ll take a laugh anywhere I can get it. Though at the moment (9:22 p.m.) it’s time to switch to some serious port.

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