What’s the Difference: New-World Wine VS. Old-World Wine
If you’re into wine, you’ve heard much about the old and new worlds. Is this really a thing? Does wine taste different if it comes from Europe or Australia?
Before we start, be sure you’re tasting wine in the proper stemware. Wine glasses that allow you to detect the sometimes-subtle differences between wine styles. If you want to distinguish between old world and new world wine, have Grassl Glass stemware or similar-quality stemware in hand. Grassl offers the best glasses for red wine, white wine, and many other styles.
Do you like old world wines more than new world expressions of the same grape? Let’s find out. Here’s what you need to know about wine’s most common geographical classification.
Smell and Taste: Differences Between Old and New World
When you hear someone talking about old world wine, they’re talking about European wine. Winemaking in the old continent goes back thousands of years, and yes, you can taste all that experience. European regions work with wine grapes adapted to their terroir, and it takes decades, perhaps centuries, to develop a wine style that smells and tastes like the place it comes from.
New world wine comes from the Americas, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. Yes, the “new world” is not all that new, but wine regions here are, at the most, a few centuries old (some are younger). New world wine is, in fact, younger and sometimes more unpredictable than old world wine.
Concisely, old world wine regions are colder than those in the new world. That means that the grapes in the new world ripen more, generate more sugar, and are more alcoholic wine. New world wine fruit aromas are often more intense and riper than similar examples from the old-world.
Cabernet from Bordeaux, for example, is tarter, harsher, and less expressive than a fruity Napa Cab. Not because one is better but because Napa Valley is warmer than Bordeaux.
Old and new world comparisons are no longer valid. Cold-climate wine regions in the New-world now produce elegant, European-style wines, and producers in the old-world now allow their grapes to ripen more than ever.
Although classifying wine into the old and new-world was the norm for decades, now professionals talk about cold and warm-climate wine regions instead, whether they’re in Italy or Chile.
There’s something old-world producers still do more than their new-world counterparts, and that’s aging their wine. European producers in certain regions might age their wines for a decade before releasing them to the market! You don’t see that in California often, do you?
Can You Tell If Wine Has Aged Too Much?
Why age wine? Although most wine on the market is made to be enjoyed young, age-worthy red and white wines benefit from a few years in a dark cellar. If the conditions are right and the wine is concentrated enough, it will evolve rather than age, becoming more complex on the nose and palate.
Of course, all wines, young and old, unavoidably decay. You can tell when the fruit aromas are no longer vibrant, and acetic bacteria have started turning the precious wine into vinegar.
Does the Wine’s Age Matter?
The wine’s age is not as important as people think. Inexperienced wine enthusiasts might think that well-aged wine is better than young wine, but that’s rarely the case. Young wine is fruity, while aged wine has more noticeable wood, leather, and undergrowth aromas, but they’re not as fruit-forward.
Do you like fruity wines? Drink young wine. Do you want attractive secondary and tertiary aromas? Then, aged wine is for you. And you don’t have to choose. Enjoy both young and old wine as you please.
Why is aged wine more expensive than young wine, then? Aging wine takes time, and time is money. Also, only the most concentrated wines can withstand more than a few years in a cellar, and you can only produce them with the finest grapes from the best terroirs. We’re talking about some of the most expensive fruit on the planet! Do you want to know if your wine is aged or not? Look at its color.
What can wine’s color have to say about all this? Wine oxidizes as it ages. Ruby-red wines turn crimson and brown, and pale straw-colored wines turn golden (and brown as well.) The color of the wine is an effective way of determining if you are drinking young or aged wine. That means the wine glass used matters — the best wine glasses allow you to admire the wine’s color.
The nose will also give you hints of the wine’s age. Young wines are often fruit-forward and not much else. You’re sipping on a well-aged wine if you detect scents redolent of mushrooms, truffles, cedar, spice box, leather, damp earth, or espresso.
White wine changes with time as well. Expect scents of dried flowers, hay, and honey in aged white wine instead of fresh apples and citrus fruit. Of course, the grape used determines the wine’s flavor, young or old, but you get the idea.
What’s Your Favorite Type of Wine?
Forget about old-world and new-world. Every bottle of wine is different, and it’s the terroir and the hand of man which shapes its identity. Young or old, European or from anywhere else, all wine is special, and every wine can be equally enjoyable. Serve your favorite wines in Grassl Glass Stemware and find the right wine for you.