Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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French, and particularly Bordelais, term for a place where wine and occasionally brandy is stored, typically in barrel. Thus a smart Bordeaux château will have (perhaps) the château building itself with no direct winemaking function, a cuverie in which fermentation takes place, a first-year chai in which the most recent vintage’s crop undergoes élevage, 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. The New World counterpart to the chai is sometimes called the barrel hall. See also cave.