Wines and Spirits Dictionary: Letter N


(Pronounced ‘Nath-i-o-nal’) Term used referring to ungrafted vinestocks in the Douro region of Portugal.


Vineyard in the Rheinhessen.


(Pronounced ‘Naah’) This tributary of the Rhine joins the greater river at Bingen, and the vineyards in the region are situated on porphyry rock. This gives the wines an individual, light but full character, which some people find reminiscent of the delicate Mosels, while others liken Nahe wines to certain of the Rheingaus. In general, Nahe wines come to their peak quite quickly, and can have a gentle crispness, often with a very sweet fragrance. The main centres are: Bingen, Kreuznach (the Narrenkappe is possibly the most famous site), Schloss Bockelheim (the Kupfergrube, Felsenberg, Muhlberg and Konigsberg being well-known sites), Niederhausen, Norheim, Roxheim and Rudesheim – this last being a completely different place from Rudesheim on the Rhine. Rather as with the Palatinate wines, the years that are particularly good on the Nahe do not always coincide with those that are equally so on the Rhine and Mosel.

Nathan & Wyeth

Firm who are developing a vineyard and winery at Avoca, in the Great Western region of Australia. The winery makes quantities of sparkling wine by the Champagne method.


Region in the north of Spain, making large amounts of wine, most of which is drunk locally. Some red and white is, however, exported and deserves attention by those who like fairly robust table wines.


Region north of St Emilion in the Bordeaux region, producing red wines. Now officially merged with Lalande de Pomerol.


Italian wine grape making red wines, which also gives its name to medium range wines in some Italian wine regions. Some of the finest Italian red wines, such as Barolo and Gattinara, are made from this grape.


(Pronounced ‘Nee-der-berg’ stressing ‘Nee’) One of the most famous wineries at Paarl in South Africa. It was established in the late 18th century by a German: then, in 1936, another German named Johann Graue arrived to make the name world-famous. He developed both the vineyards and the winery, making red and white wines of high quality. Today the property belongs to Stellenbosch Farmers’ Wineries and, since 1974, has attracted enormous publicity because of its annual wine auction. This is held in front of the beautiful house, and is attended by buyers from all over the world, who bid for the wines of a number of estates as well as those of Nederburg itself. Nederburg wines are known world-wide.


Estate in the Stellenbosch region of South Africa, making mostly white wines.


(Pronounced ‘Nay-go-see-on’ stressing ‘go’) This French term is, in full, un nigociant eleveur and is translated as ‘shipper’: that is, someone who buys the wines and subsequently handles or is in charge of them. The precise significance as far as the U.K. Wine trade is concerned is difficult to define, because a shipper may also be a retailer or wine merchant, or simply a wholesaler, selling to the retail trade. But the word nigociant on a label of a French wine usually means that the person named is a shipper, because the term marchand de vin (literally wine merchant) means, in French, a small-scale distributor – not a wine merchant in the sense that anyone in the U.K. Understands the word. Even a small-scale negotiant is usually someone of substance and it is the shippers of certain of the great wine centres, such as Bordeaux, who are sometimes collectively referred to as la noblesse du bouchon (the bottle cork nobility), or, elsewhere, as le negoce.


This drink of hot spiced wine gets its name from Colonel Francis Negus, who invented it in the 18th century. It is usually made with port, but any sweetish fortified wine may be substituted.


Chateau in the Pomerol region of Bordeaux, making fine red wines.


Winery in Sonoma, California.


Austrian white wine grape, much used for heurige wines.


Swiss wine region on the lake of the same name, making red as well as white wines, although the latter are the most famous. Some of the best should, according to tradition, form ‘the star of Neuch&teP – that is, spread out in a star-shaped slight effervescence – if poured into a tulip-shaped glass.


Mosel vineyard which has been famous for its wines since Roman times, when it was an important shipping port. The stone carving of a ship carrying casks of wine dates from this period. The best-known site is Rosengartchen.


(Pronounced ‘Noy-seed-ler-zay’ stressing ‘seed’) Large take in the Burgenland region of Austria, hot and dry. Much wine, including red, is made around it.

New Zealand

Vines were first planted here in 1819: James Busby, the first British Resident, made a sparkling wine. But. The Phylloxera affected the vineyards at the end of the 19th century and not until World War II did the local wine-producers find it easy to market their wines. Today, classic vines are increasingly planted and the quality of the table wines is high enough to cause the major producers to try to launch them on export markets. The most important producers are Montana, Corbans, McWilliams and Cooks, but there are many other small firms.

All types of wine – still, sparkling (made by various methods), table wines and fortified – are made; liqueurs and vermouths, as well as wines, are made from a huge range of grapes, including, as might be expected, the better-known classic types. Some of the Australian wine companies have begun to take a serious interest in the New Zealand wine firms and vineyards; and it is likely that the New Zealand wines of the future will display both an individuality due to their special situation and a quality that should make them sought-after even across the world. The winemakers know that it is not possible to create a fine wine in a few years; they are content to improve the quality of what they produce and evolve their own style, with the assistance of all the technical resources on which they are now able to draw.

Niagara Falls

Small, recently established winery in New York State.


Small, recently established California winery, making a specialised, restricted amount of fine wines.


Winery in the Napa Valley, California.


(Pronounced ‘Nee-der-rem-meF) Mosel vineyard, of which the best-known site is probably Giinterslay.


(Pronounced ‘Nee-der-how-zen’) Winegrowing region of the River Nahe in Germany.


(Pronounced ‘Nee-der-may-nig’) Wine parish in the Saar region of Germany, which in some years can make outstanding wines. The notable vineyards are Langenberg, Euchariusberg and Sonnenberg.

Niehaus, Dr Charles

One of the great wine men of South Africa. He has been called ‘the founder of the Cape sherry industry’, but he is also one of the most respected authorities on table wines as well. His work at the K.W.V. at the most difficult period just prior to and during World War II cannot be overestimated and, even at what might be considered a great age, he maintains a remarkable judgment and palate for the wines of today. Officially retired, he remains the Mayor of Paarl, consulted and admired by all in the wine business both there and in many of the other wine regions of the world.


(Pronounced ‘Neer-stine’) The most important wine district in the Rheinhessen (see Rhine). The name comes from the Latin for the spring (Neri) and the boundary stone (stein) as this region was between the German and Frankish areas. The soil is an unusual reddish sandstone. The finest wines are made entirely from the Riesling. There are numerous owners of Nierstein vineyards: Domthal is possibly the most famous site name.


(Pronounced ‘Nit vor bay’, stress on ‘bay’) The farm north of Stellenbosch which houses the Research Institute of the South African Wine & Spirit Board.


A quarter bottle. Term usually employed with relation to mineral waters and spirits, but it can be used for wine as well, except that quarters of Champagne are usually referred to as ‘splits’.


Tuscan subdivision of Chianti where some vinsanto is also made.


Family winery in the Maipo Valley of New Zealand, making very fine red wines from various grapes, including Pinotage.


It has been said that the nog is the American version ofa wassail bowl. It seems always to be based on eggs and may either be served from a large bowl, or as an individual mixture, hot ot cold. The nog isinvariably a filling drink.

Noilly Prat

Louis Noilly founded the great French vermouth establishment at the beginning of the 19th century at Lyon, bringing his son-in-law, Claudius Prat into the business, which proved so successful that they moved to Marseilles. The firm is still a family concern, with huge installations at Sete as well as Marseilles and it is they who started the practice of maturing the casks of vermouth in the open air, exposed to the atmosphere of the sea and strong sun. Although Noilly Prat is most often associated with dry vermouth, they do make a sweet variety and also produce a bianco in their Italian installation.

Noir de Pressac

The Bordeaux name for the Malbec grape.

North Para

North Para

Wines is on the river of the same name, in Australia’s Barossa Valley. The establishment is not large but the Hoffmans, who have today concentrated on making dessert and red wines, are today the sixth generation to run the estate. This was first settled in 1848, by a man who had fought in the Prussian army at Waterloo in 1815.


This term is used to refer to the appraisal by the nose of a wine or spirit – that is, sniffing, smelling. In the sherry bodegas, the wines from the different casks are mostly sampled only ‘on the nose’ and not put into the mouth. The same applies to the sampling of many spirits: Scotch, for example, is mainly ‘nosed’ by the blender, who, as with the fortified wines, would swiftly tire his or her palate if the liquid were taken into the mouth.

Noval, Quinta do

(Stress second syllable) Probably the best-known single quinta or separate estate of the Douro Valley in north Portugal. Its wines are usually very fine and the property is additionally distinguished because part of it is still planted with the national vinestock (known as national), which is not grafted, in spite of the Phylloxera. The wine made from this ungrafted stock is kept separate and it is interesting to compare it with the other wine of the estate, a distinct difference usually being apparent, both for the vintage and other types of port. There are other single quintas but Noval’s reputation has stood high for a very long time. Noval’s 1931 vintage is a particularly outstanding wine, and is considered by some to be one of the finest ports of the 20th century.

Novitiate of Los Gatos

California winery, owned by the Sacred Heart Novitiate.


Pale pinkish-yellow liqueur, made from peach and apricot kernels, produced by several liqueur establishments.


(Pronounced ‘nwee’) Parish in the Cote de Nuits in Burgundy, whose wines may be labelled simply ‘Nuits’ as well as ‘Nuits-St-Georges’. The best-known growths include: Les St Georges, Les Vaucrains, Les Cailles, but there are a large number of sites. The best wines of Nuits tend to be more delicate than those of Gevrey, but they have a more assertive appeal than those of Chambolle-Musigny. The enormous variation in styles and qualities, however, combined with the appeal of the parish name among English-speaking people, has resulted in both confusion and abuse of a great wine name. The experience of having a genuine (and fairly priced) Nuits-St-Georges, of a particular site, would be a surprise and revelation to many people (although they might consider it expensive). The person who, pronouncing on Burgundy, asserts ‘I like Nuits-St-Georges’ is admitting great ignorance – the Nuits-St-Georges of Shipper X may be totally dissimilar from the wine of the same name of Shipper Y – and double or half the price!

Numbered bottles

Although at one time only a few of the greatest properties numbered their bottles (by a figure on the label), the fashion for doing so is increasing. It does imply a certain limitation of supply and, therefore, should be an indication of quality. It also shows whether the wine was bottled early or late, something which can be of interest in, for example, a great claret .because bottles with low numbers can be bottled – when this is done by hand – as much as weeks or even months apart from those with high numbers. The character of the wine may likewise be different. Otherwise it seems to be rather exaggerated as a piece of information about the wine in the bottle.


Sardinian wine made from the grape of the same name. It is white and light in character, and is often used for making vermouths and blending purposes. The name comes from nuraghe, which means a curious type of building, circular in shape, dating from 2000-1000 B.C.


Large winery in the Barossa Valley, Australia, owned by Penfolds.

Nut liqueurs

There are a number of these but, as nuts form a useful food or can be utilised for making sweets, nut liqueurs tend to be the specialities of the regions where nuts are abundant. Eau-de-noix, made from walnuts, is a Dordogne specialty, crème de noix is a sweeter version of this; crème de noisette is a liqueur made from hazelnuts. crème mit Nuss is a German liqueur, including hazelnuts and chocolate; crème de Noyau, a De Kuyper brand, is also known as ‘Persico’ and is well known in Holland.

16. December 2011 by admin
Categories: Spirits, Uncategorized, Wine, Wine Dictionary | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Wines and Spirits Dictionary: Letter N


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