Old World Vs. New World Wine: What’s The Difference

medium_277939361Have you ever heard someone describe a wine as “Old World Style” or this wine is ‘Old World’? I bet you wondered what that meant and no, it doesn’t mean ‘back in the day’! Old World loosely defined refers to regions of wine making, more specifically France and Italy. And old world style of wine is more terroir (soil, climate, etc), minerality and structure driven. Since France and Italy live by the mantra ‘Mother Nature determines the quality of our wines’, the resulting wines have a much different style.

Old World Style wines:

  • Terrior driven wines
  • History and tradition in wine growing and wine making
  • Wines indicative of the region
  • Tannic, minerality-driven, layered and complex

With that said, not everyone is able to tend to their vines, grow their grapes, or create their wine in an Old World style. There are several new, upcoming wine making regions that use modern technologies to create their own style of wine. These regions are called New World. Who is New World? Honestly, everyone that isn’t Old World! So think Austria, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Chile, Argentina, USA…you get the point. Now to make it a bit confusing, Spain is sometimes considered Old World depending on who you talk to.


New World Style wines:

  • Started producing wine in the 15th-17th century
  • Wine production followed European exportation and colonization
  • Will use science and technology to ‘fix’ any grape/wine issues as necessary
  • Preserves varietal fruit character
    • Resulting wines are fruity and clean in flavor

Let’s use Pinot Noir as an example to see how this actual works in real life. We’ll compare a red Burgundy (Old World) with a Pinot Noir from Oregon (New World)

Louis Jadot Nuits-Saint-Georges (Burgundy, France) – All dark fruit and spices. Think cassis and pepper. Typical French minerality from the limestone soils on the palate but with nice silky tannins and a long finish. This is a wine with some amazing aging potential.

Erath Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley, OR) – Red fruits like plum and raspberry upon first taste move into vanilla and red cherries mid-palate. Its light tannins and complexity, make you want sip again and again to uncover something new.

That’s all for now, hope you enjoyed this weeks Wine Wednesday!



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