In our second intro class, New World versus Old World, we compare wines from Europe to those from “newer” wine making areas like South Africa, America, New Zealand, and Australia. The trick is to guess between two similar wines of mostly the same varietal and determine which is from the New World and which is from the Old World. Mary Burnham, wine writer, explained that, in general, New World wines tend to be more fruity and oaky with higher alcohol compared to Old World wines, which tend to be more earthy, savory, acidic and minerally. However, the line between Old and New has been blurring, with some NW producers going back to the old style and some OW taking a more modern approach. For this reason the Pinot Noir comparison totally stumped the group, since the Oregon version was quite savory and the Burgundy version was more of a NW style. Two more interesting but difficult pairs to discern in this group were a Chenin Blanc duo from France and South Africa and a Tempranillo duo from Spain and Washington State. As slightly lesser known varietals, we really had to put our wine thinking caps on to try and determine what made these wines different and how those differences were attributable to their places of origin. The other challenge with these two pairs was that the wines really needed food to show at their best. Some cheese helped.
The only certainty tonight was that the majority of the class preferred the New World selections!
1. Wolf Blass Dry Riesling 2009 – South Australia ($12)
2. Metternich & Salomon Kremstal dae Reserve Pfaffenberg Riesling 2009 – Austria ($30)
3. Domaine Laffourcade Savennieres 2010 – Loire Valley FR ($25)
4. Mulderbosch Western Cape Chenin Blanc 2010 – South Africa ($14)
5. Amisfield Central Otago Pinot Noir 2005 – South Island of New Zealand ($32)
6. Vincent Girardin Vosne-Romanee Vieilles Vignes 2005 – Cote de Nuits, Burgundy, FR ($52)
7. Pesquera Ribera del Duero 2009 – Spain ($38)
8. Gramercy Cellars Tempranillo Inigo Montoya 2009 – Walla Walla, WA ($53)
– Melanie Solomon