Wine Words: Nouveau

Happy New Year. I thought I would start 2013 with the wine word 'Nouveau'. Most readers probably know this wine word and associate it with Beaujolais, specifically the wines labeled 'Beaujolais Nouveau'. Do you know what 'nouveau' means in this context?

'Nouveau' is a French word literally means 'new'. It the context of wine it means the fresh young wines of the new vintage. While other young 'un-aged' wines are typically not ready for release until at least three months after the vintage, 'nouveau' wines are launched on the market as early as six to eight weeks after harvest.

'Nouveau' is just one of the many styles of Beaujolais wine. The'nouveau' wine is released on the third Thursday of November each year. The release is usually accompanied with much fanfare and marketing promotion, as the wines are hurriedly and excitedly shipped around the world for sale at 12.01am on the designated third Thursday of November.

'Nouveau' wines are not for cellaring. They should be consumed within four to six weeks, while they retain their vibrant fresh fruitiness.

Beaujolais and other nouveau wines are deliberately produced in a way that they do not have much tannin, and what little they have is soft and juicy. Flavors are redolent of bubble gum, banana, fresh berries and cherries.

While we associate the word 'Nouveau' with Beaujolais, other French wine regions as well as other countries also produce this style of fresh, young wine destined for immediate consumption. In Italy the equivalent term is 'Novello'.

Mary Gorman-McAdams, MW (Master of Wine), is a New York based wine educator, freelance writer and consultant. In 2012 she was honored as a Dame Chevalier de L'Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne

Previous Wine Words

Wine Words: Clarity
Wine Words: Color
Wine Words: Complexity
Wine Words: Texture
Wine Words: Aromas
Wine Words: Alcohol
Wine Words: Body
Wine Words: Tannin
Wine Words: Acidity
Wine Words: Minerality
Wine Words: Length and Finish
Wine Words: Sweetness
Wine Words: Style
Wine Words: Oak
Wine Words: Clarity
Wine Words: Extraction
Wine Words: Sediment
Wine Words: Variety vs. Varietal
Wine Words: Reserva, Riserva, Reserve
Wine Words: Quality
Wine Words: Vintage
Wine Words: Non-Vintage
Wine Words: Bordeaux Blend
Wine Words: Traditional Method
Wine Words: Tank Method (Charmat Method)
Wine Words: Champagne
Wine Words: Dosage
Wine Words: Disgorgement
Wine Words: Malolactic Fermentation
Wine Words: Cold Soak
Wine Words: Fortified
Wine Words: Contains Sulfites
Wine Words: Lees Aging
Wine Words: Old Vines
Wine Words: Easy Drinking
Wine Words: Aging Potential
Wine Words: Yeasts
Wine Words: Cuvée

(Image: Underlying image by Sadovnikova Olga/Shutterstock)

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Mary Gorman-McAdams, MW (Master of Wine), is a New York based wine educator, freelance writer and consultant. In 2012 she was honored as a Dame Chevalier de L'Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne.