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Watch more episode of the What the Fruit is… video series:
Looking into what is the wine term Cuvée, a French word common in the world of wine
Wine vocabulary definition. Glossary of wine terms explained.
Video content (transcription):
What is a Cuvée?
What is up guys, this is Julien the French winemaking guy who makes wine videos here on YouTube, yes wine videos. This is just a quick video, as part of my What The Fruit is video series where we explain wine terms in short clips. Today we’re looking at what is a wine term that you may hear quite commonly said by wine connoisseurs or producers, which is the term CUVEE. You may know what is a cuvee, but do you know why it’s called this way. We’ll cover this too.
But let’s start with what is a cuvee. A cuvee is essentially an individual wine, or you could say an individual bottling. A wine producer is going to have a range of different wines, a cabernet sauvignon, a cabernet reserve, a few single vineyard cabs, a chardonnay, a special selection this, a late harvest that. Each of these wines, these labels if you wish is a cuvee. This is if you wish the French term to designate an individual wine. Of course some wine producers use the term to name some of their wines, like Salon Champagne and its cuvee S, mane Cuvee Vieilles Vignes in Burgundy for example for some wines made from old vines, Pol Roger Cuvee Winston Churchill, or Domaine de Beaucastel Cuvee Hommage a Jacques Perrin, a Chateauneuf du papa wine. The term is particularly popular among Champagne makers.
So why the term cuvee to designate a wine. You have to know that the French word for tank, as in a wine tank used in a winery, this is called a Cuve in French. A cuvee is essentially what fits in a tank at a winery. Generally, wine producers pick grapes from a vineyard or two, and put the resulting wines from those in a tank. One vineyard or several similar vineyards go in one tank. If we talk about a single vineyard wine, well the content of this single vineyard tank, becomes a wine and therefore a cuvee. You may argue that sometimes wineries blend together different tanks to make one single wine, right? Yes indeed, when when they do that, they blend the content of different tanks, each of which contains wine from a vineyard, into one single tank to form a blend. Think of a reserve cabernet for example. A winery is going to select a few of their best cab vineyards, blend them together to make their Reserve cabernet Cuvee. We therefore at some stage in the winemaking process, generally just before bottling, end up with with one tank of blended wine being bottled on its own, therefore forming a cuvee.
A cuvee, at least the term, literally means a tankful of wine. Of course this is the traditional meaning of it, from a time when wineries didn’t play around with blending hundreds of tanks together, when one vineyard used to go in one tank and making an individual cuvee, like an old vine cuvee from a small Burgundy producer. Times have changed, but the term has remained. Cuvee.
Is there any wine term you’d like me to explain? Let me know in the comments. Hit the like button before you go if you’ve enjoyed this video, and I will see you soon in the wonderful world of wine. Cheers!
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