Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Old World and New World Wines

When talking about wine, what exactly does old world or new world mean?

It's simple. Nearly everything in Europe is considered Old World. This includes France, Spain, Italy, Germany etc.

New World is anything not in the Old World: USA, Chile, Australia, etc.

Yep, its that simple.

But why the distinction you ask? Well the two styles are were very different in flavor profiles. The old world embraced terroir (the local climate, soil, and environment) and their wines were meant to age in the bottle before consumption. Their wine making techniques are also very traditional and rarely changed. Because of this, their wines took on the flavors earthy flavors of terroir: minerals, flinty, leather, tobacco, earth, mushrooms, slate etc.

Currently, the majority of consumers prefer wines made in the new world style and many old world vineyards have been producing new world style type wines.

New world wines are made to be fruit forward and to consumed immediately. New world wine making is not steeped in stodgy traditions and they are usually free to try many new techniques to produce the best wine. The new world has recently begun to pay attention to terroir in their wine making process like the old world has done for decades.

I prefer new world wines myself, but I have tasted some amazing old world wines too. I especially like the flavors of cedar, leather and cigar box (humidor). The minerals and slate from some Chablis I have had are quite good too.


Gerald said...

I tend to buy my wines online from a reputable merchant called Majestic Wines who offer a great range of wines, and like many I rate them very highly. Maybe a food guide would be a great advantage to!

I have to admit that I struggle with food and wine in the sense of choosing what wine is best for a certain type of food. I'm a big fan of wine but to get the full potential and compliment the food I am eating, is another story.

Hank Greer said...

I agree, most wines when paired well are so much better.