You’ve heard the saying, “wines of the old world”, or “I prefer a New World Cabernet”, but what the heck does this mean? If you are still a little new to the whole world of wine, it might sound a bit confusing. The difference between the two first starts with where modern day winemaking practices originated. It also has to do with style of wine and how it’s made. Let’s dive into some details!
Old world and new world wines technically do come from different regions around the world, but we will get to that in a minute. First, let’s get familiar with the different characteristics that define the style of an old world wine versus a new world wine.
These are the basic characteristics of old world versus new world wine styles, however there are always exceptions to the rule! While most old world wines come from cooler vineyards in Europe, places like Italy have very warm regions that produce fruit forward and full body wines.
Many of the old world wine regions are located in Europe. These wine regions are not the first to make wine, but they are the first to practice the modern day winemaking techniques that are still used today. These regions also created many rules, regulations, and other laws in regards to winemaking that are still used today.
The New World winemaking regions started after the Old World regions, due to people expanding into new lands and colonization. New World refers to those regions that borrowed the basic winemaking techniques from the Old world, but made it their own.
Of course within these countries or continents there are many other regions that have become well known for their own styles of wine and varieties they grow.
Let’s take Cabernet Sauvignon as an example. On my instagram I featured a beautiful Pauillac. Pauillac comes from the Bordeaux region of France and is more Cabernet Sauvignon heavy in the blend. It has notes of dark fruits, tobacco, earth, and graphite. It’s almost like you can taste the soil in this wine. It also has a nice acidity and lighter mouthfeel for a Cabernet blend. This wine compared to a Charles Krug Cabernet is totally different. The Napa Cab Sauv has more fresh, dark fruits with some oak, vanilla, and spice. It tastes more full body, with grippy tannins. Overall, you can tell it comes from a much warmer climate than the Bordeaux.
Yep, there’s more! Unfortunately, a lot of people only know of the big name regions that produce wine. For old world wines, France and Italy are the most well known, and for the New World, everyone knows about California! But there are so many other countries in the world… what about them?
The birthplace of wine is actually where modern day Georgia, Turkey, Israel, and other middle eastern countries are. This was where the first practices of winemaking in our world actually started. Today, they still make wonderful wines, but have been over shadowed by the OGs of the Old World and the fast production and spunky new players of the New World.
Diving into these ancient world or “old, old world” wines is a whole other blog post! But I can definitely see that coming in the future…
Do you prefer Old World or New World wines? Let me know in the comments below!
Want to know learn more about wine? Read about my WSET level 3 experience in wine education!