What the F*** does "Glou Glou" mean?
Wine terms can be pretentious and obnoxious. They seem capable only of confusing the us regular wine drinkers, you know the folks without the Sommelier certifications. Then sometimes you get a term that just makes perfect sense and just works. Its easy to understand, but cool to say, and allows you to sum up everything you want in a wine in two French-like words that just roll off the tongue. That magical term is "glou glou," a term that captures everything we want in wine right now.
So what does “glou glou” actually mean?
Glou glou is a French term that would translate roughly to “glug-glug.” Like glug-glug, glou glou is onomatopoeic. Look at us using fancy big words! But there is so much more to this delightful term. In fact, you could say that if it were to mean anything it would mean "delightful." It first appeared in France. We've managed to trace it as far as Beaujolais, and maybe the Loire valley, where the wines made are lighter, zestier, and much more full of life than the hearty wines of Bordeaux or the ultra-refined wines of Burgundy. Glou glou is a term that captures the unique characteristics of these wines, and has started to take off on a global scale.
As natural wine becomes more popular, so does glou glou
With the rise in popularity of natural wine, and it’s ability to shift how we think about wine, the term glou glou has become a term that is hot on the lips of every wine lover from LA to Amsterdam. Folks are crazy for natural wine, but when it flies in the face of everything we have have been told to appreciate about wine, we can't exactly go around talking about it in the same way. Words like weird and funky are great for natural wines, but anybody chasing a perfect score from Mr. Parker will see those as flaws they need to correct. Glou glou became used as a catch-all term to describe these natural wines that are lighter in alcohol and tannins, but with a bright acidity and a real expression of terroir. The wines come across as crushable, and yet exciting.
Glou glou has grown into that term that not just captures the wine, but the global zeitgeist of an emerging wine culture. You can call it a hipsters version of wine culture if you like, but you'd be missing the point. It is on the lips of younger drinkers where you might hear this term spoken with glee...
Its here where glou glou has evolved into its own thing, its ability to encapsulate something that can be so difficult to describe. Glou glou describes a wine that is delicious, that really speaks volumes to your heart, and captures your passion as much as your imagination. Glou glou is a wine that makes you ache for more, not because it is simply easy to drink, but because it is just so damn delicious. Its a wine that captures the experience, the moment, that goes well with the meal, that goes well with the company and does not have you thinking too much about it.
So where do we glou from here?
Any term catching on like wildfire across the world can run into its challenges. Aaron Ayscoough said it best in Sprudge...
It may be helpful for wine writers (like myself...hello dear reader!) to introduce an esoteric concept to a wine drinker, but I think it is going to be just as useful for wine drinkers to describe what it is they want, what it is they are looking for, and a way to find that awesome wine that they are craving. Its as easy as "Hi, we are having friends over for a BBQ on Saturday and we are looking for a wine that is really glou glou."
It can be a way of connecting with friends over a tremendous bottle of wine, sharing in a fantastic moment "Oh my god this wine is so glou glou! Don't you just love it?"
Glou glou is the term we have been waiting for, maybe for decades. Its a way of talking about wine in a cool, and yet unstuffy way. Its about showing your appreciation. It's about sharing a moment. It's about partaking in a new era of wine, how we drink it, and the role it plays in our life.