Mise en abyme (pronunciation miz-ohn a-beem) is, according to the Literary Encyclopedia, "A French term derived from the heraldic device of inserting a small shield within a larger shield bearing the same device ..." In later English literature, the term was used to refer to a literary technique called "a play-within-a-play" (as in Shakespeare's Hamlet) while in classic art it was used to describe a technique wherein ever-smaller copies of an original painting were placed in the center of the painting giving an impression of movement ever deeper into an abyss. In common modern usage the term is used to indicate a story within a story. And such is the use in the name of this blog.

This blog represents my continuing quest for knowledge and understanding of all things wine and a commitment to sharing those learnings once I become comfortable with them. It also reflects my focus on placing things in order and providing frameworks within which that order can be imposed, analyzed, and disseminated. But, more importantly, because of a need to provide background to any story that I am telling, the main thrust has always been packaged within a broader context: in my book, a story within a story. So if I am reporting on a wine tasting, I want to tell that story within the context of the broader wine region. I will write a post on the region first, and then follow up with a post on the actual tasting.
The photograph underlying the blog name fully captures and communicates the conception of a story within a story and is doubly significant in that it has a bottle of wine (Smith-Haut Lafitte) as part of the representation. This picture was taken at Chateau Smith-Haut Lafitte on the first day of the Decanter d'Yquem Weekend. As I had related the story at the time:
Madame Cathiard took us into a sub-basement with access secured through an electrically operated door which opened upwards from the floor. As we descended into the room she indicated that it was named Le Paradis -- the paradise. On the left-hand side of the room was a table on which lay every size of wine that is produced at the château, proceeding from smallest to largest. On the right side of the room was a line of bottles of the château's red wines arranged from oldest to most recent. At the front of the room was a glass cube containing a wine bottle which, through the influence of imbedded mirrors, appeared to be the entrance to a hole stretching to infinity.
If you have any suggestions as to how I can improve the content or context of this blog, I will be receptive to same.


  1. Wow, that's the most incredible and original blog name and story I've ever come across :)