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New World Wine vs. Old World Wine

 

Is it a new world wine? Or an old world wine? What’s the difference and how should it affect your buying or pairing decision? 

Old world wines include the wines of Europe.  Countries producing old world wines are:
1.  France
2.  Italy
3.  Spain
4.  Portugal
5.  Germany 

On the other hand, new world wines would include everybody else. Some of the most popular new world regions are:
1.  The USA, especially California

2.   Australia
3.   Chile
4.   Argentina
5.   New Zealand
6.   Canada

7.   South Africa

The terroir, (or somewhereness) of the wine is the first factor in determining a stylistic difference between the old and new world wines.  The second is climate

In the old world, fruit is subjected to higher levels of humidity, rain, clouds and an earlier end to the growing season.  Growers must pick the fruit earlier and this will lend a more acidic quality to the wine.  Traditional old world product can mimic elements of mushroom, leather, minerals and even tobacco.  These are all metaphors, of course, wines do not contain leather or tobacco!   

In the new world, the days are sunnier and the season longer. Grapes are left on the vine longer and this allows them to further ripen producing higher sugar levels.  The fruit is, well, fruitier and the wines therefore become more full bodied with higher alcohol contents.  New world wines contain” jammy” or fruity elements. Black cherry, plum and raspberry. 

Often the same varietal in both new and old world wines will reflect a vastly different alcohol content.  A French Cabernet might offer an alcohol content of 12.5%, but the same Cabernet from Australia might be a whopping 14.5% alcohol content.  This factor is directly related to the climate, sunshine, humidity and rain.  

Also, check the label.  Old world wines are named for the region they are produced in rather than the grape. For example, Bordeaux wines are strictly produced in the Bordeaux region of France. In California, a wine could be produced in Sonoma but it will be named for the fruit, for example a Pinot Noir. 

In choosing between old and new world wines, your concern should not necessarily be new or old or even region, but whether the wine is suitable for your needs and the pairing of foods as well as events.  All of them can be good.