New World and Old World Wines: Similarities and Differences
Any wine enthusiast would know that an understanding of the difference between the old world and new world wine varieties is essential in maximizing the wine-tasting experience. This is because these two varieties have general differences between them that affect their taste, price, and availability. To make a good choice, the wine connoisseur must first understand what choices are available in the market.
The differences between the two can be classified in categories of region, regulation, wine style, and labelling.
Old world wines refer to wine produced in European countries and traditional wine-making nations such as France, Italy, Greece, and Spain as well as some countries in North Africa and the Middle East. These realms have a longer history of wine-making than other producers. Their long history of viniculture and viticulture extending to thousands of years for some resulted in the creation of winemaking standards and the implementation of wine quality control measures.
New world wines, on the other hand, refer to wines produced by countries such as the United States, South America, Australia, and South Africa. These so-called new world regions have only been making wine since the sixteenth century, making them relatively young wine producers. These countries adopted the traditions of the old world wine producers.
Given the long history of winemaking in the old world regions as well as the major role wine products played in these countries’ economies, they have developed and implemented regulations and quality control measures viticulturists and winemakers abide within ensuring that the regions are only associated with wines of the same top-caliber quality and maintain the value the public associated with their wines. Regulations would cover allowable grape varieties in certain regions, harvest methods, minimum alcohol contents, and winemaking methods.
The new world regions, in contrast, have fewer laws in place to regulate winemaking. Consequently, winemakers are free to plan and harvest grape varieties that they prefer. Additionally, they are also more able to experiment with different varieties and wine compositions to produce hybrid wine products as opposed to the signature wine products of the Old World.
Wine style, which is characterized by the smell, feel, and taste of tipple, is probably the most notable difference between the two varieties. The wine style is largely affected by the climate, soil, viticulture and viniculture used in wine production.
Generally, old world producers focus on the terroir or the overall environment where the fruits are cultivated including but not limited to the soil of that region, climate, and location. Grapes are grown and harvested with a focus on an expression of place more than the grape variety as each country possesses different wine regions producing distinct brands of wine. Because of this, old world wines tend to be more earthly and mineral-driven. New world producers, however, focus on the grapes, often producing more fruit-tasting wines with few to no earth or mineral undertones.
Due to the climate difference, the taste of wine is also affected. Old world regions do not get as warm as the new world regions. Their grapes are not ripened as much as those produced in the New World. Their wine is light-bodied, with high acid and lower alcohol content. In contrast, new world regions tend to be warmer, so grapes are ripened more and have more sugar content, which translates to more alcohol. The wine is full-bodied, with ripe or overripe fruit taste and with low acid and high alcohol contents.
Labels used by the two varieties also reflect the previously mentioned difference in style. Old world wines are labelled according to the region or origin of the wine. For example, a wine labelled Chablis would mean that the wine came from the Chablis region in France, as opposed to the grape variety actually used for the wine, which is Chardonnay grapes.
Hence, it is important to have a mastery of the different wine regions to make an informed choice. The new world labels make this task easier for the buyer, as the labels contain the grape variety used in producing the wine. Thus, the label would simply say Chardonnay, Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc.
Get the best of both worlds
There are significant differences between old and new world wines. There has always been a great debate about which one is better, as many wine drinkers often claim to prefer one over the other. This choice is purely personal, but it would be unfortunate not to try both of these kinds to profile each and finally decide a personal favorite.
Currently, the old world wines seem to be the more preferred of the two; wine drinkers associate the products with the heritage and nostalgia these wines represent. Fortunately, there are a select few wine providers who can give the wine connoisseur a taste of both worlds, not bound by the current trend and fashion.
The Singapore Wine Vault, with their extensive wine cellars and selections, give the adventurous drinker the freedom to choose whichever wine they like. Singapore Wine Vault is open to the real wine lover who understands that both worlds have unique and wonderful flavors to offer.