Bien loché

I get hordes of people finding this site searching for the phrase “bien loché”, presumably finding me because it’s tucked away in a few tasting notes. Well, after 11 people came to me yesterday searching for that, I thought I would service my readers requirements and make the definition clear in a post of its own.

Bien loché means ‘well titted-out’ or, if you prefer, ‘nice poonts’. It is one of the few phrases I know in French and, as a wine writer, it has proved hilariously useful.

When I went to tastings of 2009 Burgundy the phrase leapt to mind and right out of my mouth countless times. Similarly for 2005 Southern Rhones and countless other fleshy, generously proportioned wines I’ve tried over the years.

When you tell a French winemaker his wines are well-stacked he will look confused for a second, then a huge but slightly embarrassed grin will spread across his face. I only wish I had known ‘bien loché’ when I visited the Fallers in Alsace; their wines are and so are they.

The other useful phrase of his type in French is ‘il y a du monde au balcon’ made with suitable hand gestures in front of your chest. It means pretty much the same thing about having an amply proportioned bosom. This can be great when standing in a cellar and making the gestures really expansive.

Most people, including me, would admit to liking bouncers without too much prompting, so I’ve never met a winemaker who hasn’t been charmed and flattered by this metaphor. I’m no good with languages but knowing such a brilliant, funny and useful piece of slang makes me think I’ve mastered all that is important in French. Hooray for knockers!