NEW WORLD OLD WINES? What can that mean? And what are the differences between the Old and the New World? Wine making, as we know is hundreds to thousands of years old and we’re about to discover the difference.
What is the Old World?
Old World is generally a term used to describe wines produced mainly in Europe but not limited to Europe alone such as Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Cyprus, Switzerland, England and Macedonia. Wine making in these countries goes back from centuries to thousands of years.
What is the New World?
New world wine includes wine produced from USA, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, South Africa, China, India, Uruguay, Brazil, Mexico and Canada. Wine making in these countries is about decades old only.
What are the differences between Old and New World?
But for now, you can spot one distinct difference which is the appearance of the grape name eg. Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc or Zinfandel. When you see a bottle with these grape names on them, rest assured they are from the new world. This is because old world wines would not have the name of the grape but the name of the region ie. Medoc, Pomerol, Chateau du Pape or Chianti Classico
Wines from the Old World are subject to strict regulation in terms of the type of grape, harvest methods, minimum alcohol content and winemaking methods. France was the first to implement such a system called the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) in an effort to control the origin and quality of its wine and to ensure that its taste and structure reflect the place it is from.
Due to tight regulation of the old world wines, if the grape harvest or quality is bad then it is going to be bad hence vintage for old world wines plays an important role in determining the quality of the wines.
What does this mean, you ask? It means that it is crucial that you buy wines from the old world from a good year and it is perfectly alright to turn a blind eye to vintages for New World Wines.
Therefore, it is my personal opinion that a beginner at wine should always get familiar with New World wines which have pure varietal and easier to taste (due to being fruit driven) before moving on to taste Old World wines which are more complex. In my opinion, tasting wines this way makes the learning curve much easier.
Trina, founder, Wine Tasting Malaysia, an online based wine enthusiasts group with weekly wine tasting events all around Klang Valley. Often found with a wine glass in her hand, she truly believe life is so much more WINEderful with wines. She is currently on a quest to gather 1000 wine enthusiasts in Malaysia. Be part of her quest by joining Wine Tasting Malaysia via meetup or through facebook. She calls Subang Jaya her home and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org