When discussing wine, one of the biggest topics is new world wines vs. old world wines. Wine lovers can’t resist the opportunity to express their opinion on this topic. Here is a rundown on the topic where we will try to increase your understanding of it.
What Are New World Wines and Old World Wines?
The terms “New World” and “Old World” are used as geographical references to determine the location where the wine was initially produced. Therefore, the term “old world wines” is reserved for wines produced in Europe and the Mediterranean countries. On the other hand, the world “new world wines” covers wines produced in Australia, the USA, South Africa, New Zealand, Argentina, and Chile.
Another distinction is made in how the production takes place. In the case of old world wines, tradition plays a pivotal role in the entire process, starting from grapes being hand- picked to how wines are preserved. Furthermore, the entire process in the “old world” is subjected to many regulations and rules. There are rules and regulations for every aspect of the winemaking, how it can be made, how it will be sold, the label, and so on.
On the other hand, new world wines tend to utilize new techniques, both in harvesting and production. At the same time, winemaking is not as heavily regulated as in the old world, and initially, there are fewer rules.
That gives winemakers much bigger freedom on how to plant, produce, label, and sell their wines.
Clash of Styles
Due to their approach in production, the difference between the old world and new world wines is not just about geography and expands to the style of their wines.
Typically, wines from the older world tend to be lighter, featuring lower alcohol levels, while the wines from the new world tend to be somewhat bolder. Plus, new world wines tend to contain higher levels of alcohol and are characterized by fruity, sweet flavors.
The fruity flavor and the higher alcohol levels are due to the climate where these grapes are grown in the new world. For example, Argentina, who is part of the “new world,” gets plenty of sun and the grapes there are sweeter and riper than the ones grown in France, which belongs to the “old world.” The fact that the grapes in the “new world” are riper and sweeter means that they contain high levels of alcohol.
The environment where wine is grown (the terroir), is one of the most significant factors considered by “old world” winemakers. Besides, they also pay a lot of attention to the specific types of soil.
Winemakers that belong to the “new world,” don’t consider the terroir to be that important. Plus, most new world wines are immediately bottled and ready to drink, unlike many old world wines that are aged before being bottled.
Naming Wine in New World Vs. Naming Wine in Old World
There is a big difference in how wines are named in the old world and the new world. In the new world regions, wines get their names from the varietal used to make the wine. On the other side, the name of the wine comes from the origin/region of the wine in the old world.
For many people, this can be a source for confusion as similar types of wines can have different sounding names.
For example, Pinot Noir made in New Zealand is very similar to red Burgundy made in France. Both wines come from the same variety – Pinot Noir. Despite this, the New Zealand wine will be commonly known by it’s grape variety, whereas the French wine will be known by its region.
As time goes by, more and more of their differences become less obvious as winemakers from each region start to influence each other.
For example, when some winemakers from the old world experienced a decline in the wine trade in Australia, they turned towards some innovative winemaking methods on account of their traditional practices. All with one goal, to make their wines closer to the affinities of wine lovers in that particular region.
Some new world winemakers also started paying more attention to traditional production methods and the importance of the terroir in wine production.
So, which wine is better – old world wine or new world wine? Truth is there is no way to answer that question as there are amazing wines on both sides. Each with its unique features and aromas.
For some wine lovers, nothing beats old world wines, while for others, the new world wines are way more superior. The only fair conclusion is that everyone needs to draw their conclusion. But more important than anything, give every wine a chance, no matter where it comes from. If it is great, enjoy it. If not, move on to the next one!