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Monday, January 26, 2009

The Dentist and the Riddler

Today was one of those days. The big event was a trip to the dentist, and now I have an extraction to "look forward to" next Monday. As much as I love the low-tech outdoor environment, I also love technology in certain situations.

One big change at the dentist is that x-rays are now ready for view instantly. And my dentist chooses to put those up on a computer screen so that they can been seen and talked about. That is great! One of the things I hate most about all encounters with the medical profession is how they mostly like to treat patients as if whatever the issue is is riddled with deep dark secrets. I prefer seeing, and learning, and understanding.

And, did you notice that I used the word "riddle" in that paragraph. We all pretty much understand that use of the word: to spread throughout.

Perhaps you think I'm referring to that nemesis of Batman? Nope.

While waiting at the dentist's office I was reading on old National Geographic book. There I learned that the word also describes a person associated with the making of champagne. A riddler is a person who turns bottles of champagne in their racks so that the sediment will precipitate evenly before removal.

The practice originated in the early 1800's when a young widow, Madame Nicole-Barbe Clicquot, took over her husband's champagne business. Prior to that time champagne always had sediment in it. But Madame Clicquot did not like that. So she drilled holes in her kitchen table and placed the bottles upside down in the holes and allowed the sediment to settle out. Before long she had devised an angled rack and hired people especially to shake and rotate the bottles every few days. When the sediment forms a plug in the bottle neck it is removed, the bottle is sealed and sent to market. This process is now done by machine, but it is still known as riddling.


Anonymous said...

Ah, Veuve Cliquot! Still one of our favourites for a special occasion. When we used to take family holidays in France, we had to disguise the dreaded sightseeing from our young sons in various ways. One outing they were always prepared to tolerate was a visit to a "wine factory". While I'm sure the producers would have been horrified by the description, it seemed to work for us, and we are all now proficient in various sorts of wine and cognac production!

Good to know dentists have side benefits. :)

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

Well, I bet your kids are way ahead of me. I know almost nothing about the topic, so I got to learn a new word. Thanks for sharing.

Bonnie Story said...

Vintage riddling racks are super-duper collectible now. Red hot. Would love to have one. There are lots of interesting words in viticulture. Have a great day and keep riddling! Good luck with the dadgum extraction. Bonnie in WA

Ratty said...

I don't know about anybody else, but I think it would be incredibly funny if Batman's Riddler was known for removing sediment from champagne. Just think of the crimes he would commit.:)

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

Bonnie- love your Washington blog! Thanks for the advance sympathy.

That's pretty funny, Ratty. Nice joke!

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