This Side Uppity

| Florida, USA | Food & Drink, Language & Words

(I work in a fairly ritzy upper-end wine store. We get a lot of customers coming in with partial information about the wine they’re looking for, but we can usually help them find it. Sometimes, not so much.)

Me: “Can I help you, ma’am?”

Customer: “Yes, I bought a case of wine here last month, and I’d like another. I don’t remember the name, but I remember where in France it’s from.”

(Our French wines are organized by the part of France that the wines are from, so this is very helpful.)

Me: “Okay, perhaps you’ll recognize the bottle when we get to that section. Where’s it from?”

Customer: “The ‘cote a ouvrir.'”

Me: “Do you mean Côtes du Rhône, or Côtes du Ventoux, or one of the Côtes appellations in Burgundy, perhaps?”

Customer: “I know d*** well I bought wine here last month, and the box said ‘cote a ouvrir!'”

Me: “I’m sure it did, ma’am. That’s French for ‘open this side.'”

Customer: “Yes! Where do you keep the French wines that say ‘cote a ouvrir?'”

Me: *gestures to the section we’re in* “About two thirds of these will say that.”

Customer: “So, it’s not very helpful?”

Me: “Not as such, no.”