By Kori ~ December 14th, 2010.
This week’s Wine Word of the Week is élevage.
Official definition from Jancis Robinson’s The Oxford Companion to Wine:
Élevage is a French word that describes an important aspect of winemaking but has no direct equivalent in English. Élevage means literally ‘rearing’, ‘breeding’, or ‘raising’ and is commonly applied to livestock, or humans as in bien élevé for ‘well brought up’. When applied to wines, it means the series of cellar operations that take place between fermentation and bottling, suggesting that the winemaker’s role is rather like that of a loving parent who guides, disciplines, and civilizes the raw young wine that emerges from the fermentation vessel. The word élevage implies that all this effort is worth it, and is therefore normally applied only above a certain level of wine quality.
Layman’s terms from Kori:
Élevage is a French word that describes a wine’s maturation, usually in barrel, during the winemaking process.
Filed under: Wine Word of the Week