In the current issue of the New Yorker, in the Talk of the Town section, a Paris Postcard by Lauren Collins: on-line on 8/7, with the title “Bartender, There’s a Beer in My Wine: Paris has been blanketed by posters for vière, a mix of vin and bière drunk from a wineglass, whose name, its creators say, started out as a joke”; in print on 8/14, with the title “Vière here” — about the hybrid beverage with a portmanteau name. Beginning:

Remember the Cronut? The Frankensteinian pastry — half croissant, half doughnut — was so popular upon its introduction, in 2013, that New Yorkers waited in line for hours to taste one. Or else they hired Cronut scalpers to wait for them, paying up to a hundred dollars for a single hunk of glazed dough. The Cronut’s creator, Dominique Ansel, trademarked the name, which led to the appearance of imitation treats: fauxnuts, cronies, zonuts, frissants. Not all hybrid foods are created equal, but as brunch, Spam, turducken, pluots, Craisins, and zoodles demonstrate, you’re halfway there with a catchy [AZ: portmanteau] name.

Recently, in Paris, posters appeared all over town advertising an unfamiliar beverage: vière. “Du jamais bu,” one poster punned — “Never before drunk.” It came in a [750]-millilitre glass bottle, just like a Chablis or a Marsannay. The bottle had a metal cap, the kind you might pry off the top of a Heineken. “It’s not a typo,” Gallia, the drink’s manufacturer explained, on its Web site, … adding that “we wanted to switch things up by combining two malts that we love.” Vin (wine) + bière (beer) = vière.

I suppose the English version would be weer [wir] (< wine [wajn] + beer [bir]), but that just sounds weird, or suggests weir [wir] ‘type of low dam’.

French vière [vjɛr] brings with it a larger and more entertaining assortment of irrelevant associations: vielle [vjɛl] ‘hurdy-gurdy; barrel organ’, vieille [vjɛj] ‘old’ (fem. gender), Vienne [vjɛn] ‘Vienna’, and vierge [vjɛrž] ‘virgin’. The hurdy-gurdy plays mournfully for the old virgin from Vienna.

I’m sorry, but vière is a really silly word, whatever you might think of a wine + beer drink.

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