Old World versus New World
Wine Tasting

What are the relative merits of “old world” versus "new world" wines?

"Old World" wines are produced in Europe, including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Austria.

“New World” wines are produced in Canada and the United States, Australia and New Zealand, and various Central and South American countries.

A side-by-side tasting of “old world” and “new world” wines, each made from the same grape, is a terrific way to begin identifying those relative merits and to develop your own tastes.

Many a wine tasting party or other event has been held to compare various European wines with their new world counterparts.

Obviously there are many other wines and countries of origin to choose from. Talking to knowledgeable staff at a well-stocked wine shop will give you many ideas on which wines to pair up.

This table provides a few examples.

Old World versus New World Wines
Bordeaux (France) vs. Cabernet Sauvignon (US or Chile)
Red Burgundy (France) vs. Pinot Noir (US)
White Burgundy (France) vs. Chardonnay (Argentina, Canada, US)
Riesling (Germany) vs. Riesling (US or other)
Chianti (Italy) vs. Sangiovese (US or Australia)
Merlot (Italy) vs. Merlot (US)
Syrah (Portuguese) vs. Shiraz (Australia or US)

What about Old World vs. Homemade Wine?

For a twist on a traditional “old world" versus "new world" wine tasting, taste and compare "old" and "new" world wines with their homemade wine counterparts.

Yes, many wineries have wine concentrate kits that home winemakers use to make Cabernet Sauvignon,Chardonnay,Merlot,Riesling,Shiraz and many other very familiar varietals and very fine wines.

These concentrates produce wines that are ready to bottle in six weeks to a few months and ready to drink in … well that depends on the type of wine.

Remember, wines taste better when aged. Follow aging recommendations from these wine kit producers.

But when they are ready to drink, go ahead - host a wine tasting event to contrast and compare some wonderful old world wines with some wonderful homemade counterparts. Here are two options.

One Country or "Taste of Europe"

One way to do this is to select a country whose wines you’d like to explore. Let’s pick Germany, known for its white wines, especially Rieslings.

  • Invite your wine making friends to contribute some bottles of their best Rieslings.
  • Invite other wine tasting friends (or yourself) to contribute some bottles of German Rieslings.
  • Whip up (or purchase) German appetizers, cheese and sausages, breads and perhaps an apple strudel for dessert.
  • Add German music and appropriate decor, and you’re ready to get started!

Another approach is to open it up to wines from many European countries and their new world counterparts.

  • Invite your wine making friends to contribute some bottles of their best wines – any selection of Cabernets or Chardonnays or Merlots, or Rieslings …you get the picture...stick with a type.
  • Find out in advance which wines are on the guest list so that you or other wine tasting friends can contribute bottles of corresponding European wines.
  • Provide appetizers appropriate for each country.
  • Line up the wine glasses and let the tasting begin!

Be sure you have your Wine Evaluation Sheets.
Let's throw a Wine and Cheese Party!
How about a Vertical Wine Tasting Dinner?
Or Perhaps a Horizontal Wine Tasting Potluck Dinner?

Return from "Old World" versus "New World" to Party Central.
Return to Homemade Wine Making Guide Home Page.

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