Old-World versus New-World

January 9, 2019

Many people ask me what’s the difference between an Old-World wine versus a New-World wine?   And…which do I prefer?  The first part of the question is easier to answer, while preference is more challenging to address.  As individuals who enjoy wine, our palates tend to develop as we are introduced to new wines and new experiences.  The more new wines we are exposed to, the more refined our paletes become. Personally speaking, I lean towards Old-World wines;  I appreciate the suttle differences that distinguish them and ultimately make them unique.  However, I first fell in love with a Napa cabernet and I will always go back that wine.  It seems that every wine enthusiast I meet tends to have a special bottle that they enjoy, regardless if it’s Old-World or New-World.

 

Old-World wines are from countries or regions where winemaking with Vitis-vinifera grapes (“the common grape vine, is a species of Vitis, native to the Mediterranean region, central Europe, and southwestern Asia, from Morocco and Portugal north to southern Germany and east to northern Iran”) first originated.  Old world wine countries include: France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Austria, Hungary, and Germany.  Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, and Moldova are also considered old world wine regions.  Old-World wines are often described as tasting lighter, having less alcohol, having higher acidity, and tasting less fruity.  For example; Burgundy-France is the heart of French wine country and grows one of the most popular varietals in the world, the grape is known as “Pinot Noir.”  Historians suggest the region first grew grapes around 51BC.

 

New-World wines are from countries or regions where winemaking and Vitis-vinifera grapes were imported during (and after) the age of exploration.  New world wine countries include the United States, Australia, South Africa, Chile, Argentina, and New Zealand.  China, India, South Africa, and Japan are also considered new world wine regions.  New World wines are often described as tasting riper, having higher alcohol, having less acidity, and tasting fruitier.  For Example; Pinot Noir came to the US around early 1900’s from Burgundy and became cloned, therefore Red Burgundy is Pinot Noir, but Pinot Noir grown in the United States is not Red Burgundy.

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