THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE appeared on hulldailymail.co.uk and discusses the differences between ‘Old World’ and ‘New World’ wine.
In the world of wine, it appears that what’s old has become new again.
Vinopolis assistant head of wine experience Melanie Reeve said Old World wine refers to regions with a long wine-producing history such as Europe, North Africa and Lebanon however there is no single definitive ‘style’ as diversity abounds within the Old World countries.
New World wines on the other hand originate from the New World regions of Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the United States and South America.
“The second distinction between the two terms in a wine context involves the differences in approach and philosophy,” she added.
“As a broad generalisation, Old World wine producing methods are based on tradition and geography – what is known terroir in French – which is the expression of a specific spot on the earth’s surface as captured in a wineglass, and the factors such as grape variety, climate, weather, soil, aspect and viticulture that make the wine taste the way it does.
“New world regions often placed focus on a science-led approach to winemaking.
“That said, Old World winemaking influence abounds in various New World regions, South Africa is just one example.”
In essence, the term Old World generally refers to wines produced in the traditional winegrowing regions of Europe, such as France or Italy, while New World wines refer to any other wines grown around the world.
But times are changing.
Grape varieties that for centuries have grown on the hills in France, Italy and Spain have found new roots on the opposite side of the world in countries like Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, North America, Chile and Argentina.
The wine from these New World regions possess the same base as those in the Old World, yet boast a variety of different elements grounded on the idea of terroir – that geography, geology and climate interact with a plant’s genetics to create a unique set of characteristics.
Take Shiraz, for example.
In France’s Rhone Valley, a Shiraz will have a rich blackberry element with a peppery tang.
However in Australia’s Barossa Valley, the same variety of wine will still have the berry flavour, but will also have a component that tastes a bit more like chocolate.
In a nod to the Old World, wine laws are proving popular again.
Regulations surrounding winemaking in what is labelled the Old World – namely Europe – were previously considered a hindrance to the growth of the region’s wine industry.
These regulations still govern everything: from which type of grape can grow where, to how dry or sweet a wine should taste, thus restricting the opportunity for experimentation.
In comparison, when New World countries in the southern hemisphere were still finding their feet in terms of winemaking, it was the lack of laws that made their varieties unique.
They had the freedom to experiment with growing techniques and blends, which led to many people believing that the Old World was falling behind, marred by ‘outdated’ rules.
In contrast, the New World seemed to emerge as the leader in terms of exciting and fresh wine production.
However, in a relatively recent turn of events, the New World has started following the European way of doing things.
For example, the warmer New World countries have cottoned on to, and appreciate, the fact that you have to plant certain grapes in particular places to provide them with the ideal conditions to flourish in.
And all of this is where the debate between Old World and New World wines spawns from.
However, the term ‘New World’ is slightly misleading; wines from this area of the world started being produced way back in the 1500s.
Sure, they’re not as old as those made in Europe, but they’re definitely not a truly modern creation.
What’s more, winemaking in the New World now replicates much of that in the Old World.
In the same breath, some Old World wines possess riper and more alcoholic characteristics, resembling the style of the New World. The lines are blurring.
Another notable difference between Old and New World wines isn’t in the wine itself, but on the labels.
It sounds superficial, but New World wine labels are much easier to read, and this is a definite plus.
For the newer market, the focus is on grape variety, thus the type of fruit as well as the region it was grown is listed.
In the Old World, the focus is on location, thus wines are named after their region rather than what grape was used to make them (although this is changing).
While super Tuscans and the famous French varieties of wine will always be held in awe by wine lovers, New World countries are forging names for themselves with particular grapes better suited to the warmer climates.
Argentina is building itself a reputation as the Malbec master, a grape traditional to Bordeaux but possibly better suited to the South American terrain and climate, while Australian Shiraz is arguably better than its European counterpart.
Is it possible to say whether Old World or New World wine is better?
Put simply: no.
It really comes down to personal taste and whether you’re a traditionalist or a modern enthusiast.
But with the differences between the two starting to blur, maybe wine enthusiasts will no longer differentiate between regions and instead concentrate solely on quality.
For the original article, visit www.hulldailymail.co.uk/Old-World-versus-New-World-wine-according/story-20409298-detail/story.html