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   Share this article     Summary of Editorial column Wine Tasting 
  Editorial Issue 113, December 2012   
The Young and Nouveau WineThe Young and Nouveau Wine  Contents 
Issue 112, November 2012 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 114, January 2013

The Young and Nouveau Wine


 In these days there have been issued two news that, on their own, provide facts to think about. The first news is the young people seem to favor “simple, fresh and socializing” wines, more direct and with less wood. The second one is that nouveau wine, both in Italy and in France, is recording a remarkable drop in sales and production, caused by a lower number of requests. These two news, give element for which thinking about as, by comparing the first one with the second one, they seem to deny each other. Of course I am not doubting or arguing about the reliability of both news - the first one result of a panel, the second one result of a “fact” - it is however bizarre how the two aspects deny each other. The young people seem to favor simple, immediate, fresh wines, with less wood and, coincidentally, nouveau wine is one of those wines which particularly meet these requirements. How can this therefore be explained, nouveau wine lost most of its success, while considering, its price usually ranges from 5 to 10 euros, sometimes even less, that is a price young people can afford - as well as anyone else - in these times of economic crisis and temporary jobs?


 

 Let's begin from nouveau wine. This style of wine originates from Beaujolais AOC, in France, where in this appellation is provided for the so called Beaujolais Nouveau, that is the “New Beaujolais”. In this area Gamay grape is the queen of vineyards, more exactly, Gamay Noir à Jus Blanc, not to be confused with Gamay Teinturier. With this grape is being produced the “new wine” destined to a prompt consumption and usually sold on the third Thursday of November, with the traditional slogan Le Beaujolais est arrivé! (The new Beaujolais has arrived). This style of wine - that in Italy is called “novello” (that is, new) - is produced with a specific wine making technique, called carbonic maceration, allowing the production of wine in pretty short times. Thanks to the particular technique - the grapes are put in a closed tank in which it naturally develops a saturation of carbon dioxide - allowing the production of wines with strong fruit aromas, “simple, fresh and immediate” wines, the style of wine so loved by the young people. Undoubtedly, a socializing wine: for example, in Italy, the “novello” has practically replaced the tradition of consuming the wine in fermentation with roasted chestnuts during the nights spent in company of friends.

 The “novello” has lived its highest success during the 1990s and in the first period of 2000s, with a production which also reached 18 millions of bottles. At those times was pretty difficult to find a winery which did not make novello - a wine ensuring a good profit on the annual balance - whereas today the number of producers has strongly reduced. According to a preliminary estimation, in 2012 in Italy have been produced “just” 4 millions of bottles, less than a quarter if compared to 2002. Even the help and facilitations introduced with a specific law that - as a matter of fact - has simplified the production of this wine, including the change of the date from which commercialization starts. As it is commonly known, in Italy novello wine could be sold from the midnight of November 6th: with the new law, sales is - and will be - anticipated to October 30th. It is of course undeniable that in the last years harvesting has strongly anticipated as opposed to the past, therefore also the “novello” is ready in advance than the past. Of course, anticipating sales, also means “anticipating” profits. A good help that, in these times, is providential.

 The panel about the young and wine, which I am not doubting, was done by professor Gabriele Micozzi of University of Marches, seems to deny, or better to say, does not justify the drop in sales of novello. According to this panel, most of the young people, from 18 to 35 years of age, seem to favor a wine with a fresh, immediate, simple and lively character, socializing and without wood. According to the young, among wines meeting these criteria are found Prosecco, Lambrusco, Chianti, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo and wines produced with Sangiovese, Chardonnay and Muscat Blanc grapes. No mention about novello. Wine follows fashions - and this is not anything new - and of course novello has been a trendy fashion and, despite it has most of the quality appreciated by the young, it does not meet their favor. A sign of the crisis or sign they have exaggerated in any way? Or is it the sign wine and grapes producers today and appreciated by the young, have been capable of conquering the interest of the young people in a better and more effective way than those making novello? Nevertheless, most of these producers make novello as well.

 Another aspect of this panel, is that young people seem to not appreciate the intermediation of “wine experts”, guilty - as it seems - to have made wine a “difficult” and scarcely understandable matter, therefore favoring a more simple approach. Also this provides reasons for thought. Maybe it is the sign of frivolous times, in which people prefer to think less - or nothing at all - while leaving others the “effort” of thinking and to make choices for them. In my opinion, this is dangerous, very dangerous. For many years we discussed and supported the importance of all those fundamental and essential elements involved in the production of quality wine, unique and unrepeatable territorial expressions. Every wine is different from any other one. Every bottle is different from any other one. If there is no will and curiosity to understand these important aspects, then it means the future is going to be very easy for all those producers - most of them being industrial - which will make simple, fresh, direct, with no complications and socializing, but of doubt quality. A dangerous road towards the return to homologation, a time already seen and lived, not only for wine.

 I am not supporting the idea wine must be “difficult and not for all”, because this is dangerous, very dangerous as well as silly. Wine is culture, expression of long and solid traditions, it is the beverage in which our civilization has growth from, a priceless heritage of history and meaning. Still according to this panel, the young would appreciate vintners to talk about their wines. This is right, absolutely right, irreproachable. It must however considered with attention: being vintners does not necessarily mean making wine or to make quality wine. Not all the vintners, as such and however praiseworthy, are capable of making genuine and good wine. Tales are amazing and charming, however they sometimes hide perils and traps. Dear young people, do not allow others to use your dignity in order to satisfy profits for which you will never get any benefit. Whenever you meet a wine, do it with awareness and responsibility: not only by avoiding the deplorable excess of quantity, but also for the appreciation of quality and the culture the wine expresses. Because it is up to you to continue the history of wine towards the future - which is yours - and remember that, in case you do not respect wine, wine will not respect you. If you will treat it lightly, the wine will treat you lightly in return. And the same will do producers with no conscience, ready to make simple and fresh wine - like the ones you like - but however not healthy. Take a glass and listen to it, every time. Go beyond appearance of those who are capable “of embellishing a nice tale while speculating on the emotions and feelings of others” and head towards substance and facts. Yours. Which is only yours and no one has the right to trample on. And this is only up to you.

Antonello Biancalana






   Share this article     Summary of Editorial column Wine Tasting 
  Editorial Issue 113, December 2012   
The Young and Nouveau WineThe Young and Nouveau Wine  Contents 
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