August 05, 2021 by Arden Montgomery

‘Gaux to Old World vs. New World

Old World versus New World – why choose? At Argaux, we’re here to bring you the best of the both worlds. When it comes to learning the ins and outs of wine tasting, starting with a solid Old World versus New World foundation is key. The fundamental traits that characterize these regions are essential in learning how to blind taste like a pro, as well as figure out your own personal palate preferences. Not sure what we mean? Check out our quick guide here. 

‘Gaux to Old World vs. New World – What to Know

Regional Breakdown

Old World Wine

Regions: All wine regions located in Europe and the Middle East (Israel, Lebanon, etc.)

Wine Characteristics: High acid, earthier, lower alcohol, restrained oak use

Not to Miss: Think of exploring the Old World of wine like a backpacking trip through Europe. Discover the salty, coastal regions of Portugal, venture along the Douro river into Spain, scour the plethora of vineyards in France into the emerald hillsides of Tuscany, then end with a trek through the steep hillsides of Germany and Austria into the exotic regions of Israel, Lebanon, and Georgia (where viticulture was ultimately born!) 

Note: Wine characteristics are based on textbook examples of wines from these regions. These characteristics are the first traits that professionals assess when blind tasting! However, as climate change carries on—and as more winemakers continue to break boundaries / plant more experimentally all over the world—more exceptions to these rules are created daily. 

New World

Regions: All wine regions located outside of Europe and the Middle East (think North and South America, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand) 

Wine Characteristics: Lower acid, fruit-driven, higher alcohol, more prominent use of new oak 

Not to Miss: A journey through the New World is a global adventure. Start your trip in the cool-climate vineyards of Washington and Oregon, then cross the state lines into sunny Napa. Head over to Sonoma and travel down the saline-tinged coastal regions of California. Hop a transcontinental flight and discover the wild regions of Australia and New Zealand, then end your tour journeying through the rugged vineyard sites of South Africa.  

What To Know

– In the realm of Old World versus New World, no area is better than another. There are plenty of amazing wines to be discovered all across the globe.  

– As mentioned above, the “textbook” traits of wines from these regions were much more commonplace prior to global warming. As climate change continues (and as more experimental winemakers continue to hit the scene), it’s very common to find high-acid, lower-alcohol wines from cool-climate New World regions, just as it is to find ripe, high-ABV wines in Old World regions. 

– The 1976 Judgement of Paris tasting was one of the most shocking and influential events to occur in the history of wine. At the time, wines from New World regions were considered highly inferior to those from Old World regions, but a few talented California producers shook things up for the better. In a blind tasting featuring six Chardonnays and six Cabernet Sauvignons (half French, half from California), the New World wines came out on top. The wine world was shocked—and ultimately changed for the better. Industry and consumer minds alike opened themselves up to the serious potential of New World wines, and today, our industry is better for it!

Perfect for → Those looking for the best of both worlds! 

Wines Included:

No Name Santa Barbara County Chardonnay

This delicious, easy-drinking wine promises to quench your thirst after long days beneath the sun. Expect flavors of banana, ripe pear, fresh apple, and red peach sherbert to jump from the wine’s smooth, mineral-driven palate. Produced from sustainably-farmed fruit and great for all occasions / palate preferences – especially if crab cakes, gouda, or Shrimp Enchiladas Verde is on the menu.

2019 Domaine De Oliveira Lecestre AC Chablis

Hailing from Burgundy’s northernmost growing area, this fresh and zesty wine jumps with flavors of white flowers, lemon rind, and a touch of citrus rind. The wine’s striking minerality and crisp acidity lead to a chalky, long-lasting finish. Compare the wine’s lip-puckering acid to the rich and round flavors found in the wine above. Make no mistake, both of these wines are made from Chardonnay, but the traditional Old World (Chablis) vs. New World (California) traits are evident in a side-by-side tasting of these two bottles. 

No Name Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir

Looking for a red that covers all of your bases? This perfectly balanced Pinot Noir is just the tickets. Notes of ripe cranberry, cherry, black tea, and cacao nibs ooze from the wine’s soft, mouth-coating palate. Crafted from sustainably-farmed fruit and only 92 cases produced. Serve slightly chilled for maximum enjoyment.

2018 Cherrier Frères Sancerre Rouge Pinot Noir

Contrary to popular belief, not all that hails from Sancerre is white! Small amounts of earthy, acid-driven Pinot Noir are also produced in the region, and this expression from Cherrier Freres is one of our favorites. The wine’s light to medium body is loaded with flavors of red berries, dried herbs, violets, and a touch of sweet baking spice. Compare with the soft, palate-coating flavors of the Pinot above. We find these two wines side-by-side perfectly illustrate the classic Old World vs. New World style of Pinot Noir. 

2016 Château des Antonins AOC Bordeaux Supérieur Cuvée Spéciale Millésime Rouge – (4-bottle Red Pack Only)

This classic Bordeaux blend is the epitome of Old World excellence. Composed of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Merlot, the wine shows expressive flavors of dark fruits, cigar box, and tobacco on the palate, which lead to a complex and powerful finish. Notice the high acid, gritty tannins, and secondary (cigar, smoke) flavors on the wine – this stuff screams Old World. 

2019 Wonderland Project No. 9 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – (4-bottle Red Pack Only)

Wonderland Project’s No. 9 Cabernet Sauvignon is loaded with dense flavors of smashed blackberries, cedar, bay leaf, leather, and graphite. Polished tannins and tobacco-driven undertones lead to a lasting, unforgettable finish. Compare this wine’s fruit-driven flavors to the secondary notes found in the Cabernet/Merlot blend above – this is the epitome of textbook Old World vs. New World. Made from organically-farmed fruit and only 1,5000 cases produced.

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