I’m a sucker for the classics – the Old World Wines Wines from regions where winemaking first originated. Think of France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Bulgaria and Germany are Old World Wine countries that have been in the winemaking business for thousands of years. New World Wines are from countries where winemaking was imported during and after the age of exploration. Think, the US, South Africa, Chile, Australia, Argentina and New Zealand. Of course, the list is more expansive than this but these are the “big” names.
What’s the Difference?
Taste. Winemaking traditions, practices and the like affect the land and climate; the “terroir”. Terroir means just that and you will hear this word often. It doesn’t have a direct translation into English but it really is the land, climate and entire atmosphere in which, in this case, grapes are grown. Coffee has a terroir, as do vegetables, you could even say single origin chocolate has a terroir. Like the tomatoes growing in your backyard, they will taste differently than the tomatoes growing in someone’s backyard in New Zealand. Different climate, soil and care practices influence taste.
Lighter tastes, less alcohol, higher acidity and less fruity are classic Old World notes. New World wines are often the opposite. They taste riper, have higher alcohol, less acidity and more fruity. This is not a hard and fast rule, there are thousands of wines and also just as many exceptions. A lot of this comes down to the rules and regulations of wine in those particular areas. For example, Malbec, from Argentina tastes as it does due to the style and the climate. An American winemaker, Paul Hobbs of Viña Cobos went to Cahors, France to try and make a Malbec there. It’s called Crocus. In this case the wine would taste similar but not the same due to the terroir. In sum, you can say it’s the taste of a place. How cool is that?
Like we now know, there are exceptions. There are New World producers who make wines that are Old World in style and Old World producers who make wines that are New World in style! For more info on Old vs New check out my post on wine labels because that is influenced by region as well. As you learn more about wine, you will hear that some people prefer one way over the other but in my book, there is room for everything! The more wine the merrier, right? That’s what makes loving wine so fun. Having the options, the styles and appreciating the differences is what this industry is all about. For a more in depth look at Old vs New click here and here to continue your wine studies! Check back on Friday to learn about Old World French Wine, my absolute favorite.
Ciao for now!