Wine Word of the Week: Chai

By Kori ~ January 9th, 2010.

Wine Word of the WeekThis week’s Wine Word of the Week is chai.

Official definition from Jancis Robinson’s The Oxford Companion to Wine:
Chai is a French, and particularly Bordelais, term for a place where wine and occasionally brandy is stored, typically in barrel. Thus a smart Bordeaux chateau will have (perhaps) the chateau building itself with no direct wine-making function, a cuverie in which fermentation takes place, a first-year chai in which the most recent vintage’s crop undergoes elevage, and a second-year chai to which it is moved at some point before the year end in order to make way for the next year’s crop.

Layman’s terms from Kori:
Chai is the place where wine is stored in barrels, frequently referred to as the barrel room in the United States.

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