Mondays are "contributor days" at Second City Soiree. Our newest contributor, sommelier Mike Matonte, is happy to share his passion with casual drinkers and fellow experts alike. Follow him on Twitter @VinoMike
Hello and thanks for checking out my first post on the fabulous SecondCitySoiree.com! The world of wine is vast and diverse. That makes it fun, but it can also be overwhelming. Wine is simple, it really is! My goal with these posts is to bring that simplicity and comfort to you, and help you along the way with learning more about the greatest beverage on earth!
As a member of The Court of Master Sommeliers, one must learn to taste wines blind. Through the sight, aroma, and taste, the sommelier must conclude the grape, region, and vintage of that wine. Before concluding exactly what the wine is, the sommelier will first determine if the wine is “Old World” or “New World.” Learning the difference between Old World and New World will greatly help you out with your selection of wines to enjoy for yourself as well as what you want to pour for your guests. The difference is...
Old World is any wine that is produced in Europe.
New World is any wine produced anywhere else on the planet.
Here are some general characteristics about these two styles:
Europe, the motherland of wine production! Viticulture dates back for… well, a really, really, long time! The rich tradition, culture, and history makes European wines more about WHERE they come from and less about what grapes they are made from. This is what makes these regions so difficult to learn because most labels tell you only where the wine is from. We’ll touch on this in future postings.
Alcohol Level - Lower (don’t worry, not too low and not all wines from Europe are low)
Acidity - Higher (makes them taste fresh and lively with a little bit more zing)
Fruit Flavors - More subtle (think of a dried cherry vs. a fresh cherry)
Earthy Flavors - More pronounced
These are wines from the major regions of the world that are not part of Europe. Major growing regions include Chile and Argentina, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and of course the USA. These tend to be warmer climates with excellent growing conditions.
Alcohol Level - Higher (woo-hoo!) due to higher levels of ripeness
Acidity - Lower, which can make a wine a bit softer and easy-drinking
Fruit Flavors - Ripe and fresh (Think about biting into a bunch of fresh blackberries. Now think about drinking a glass of Napa Valley Cabernet!)
Earthy Flavors - Subtle
Wines to try side-by-side
Try these pairings at your next party...what a great way to learn about taste preferences!
|New World||Old World|
|Chardonnay||California||France (Burgundy region)|
|Pinot Gris||Oregon||Pinot Grigio from Italy|
|Sauvignon Blanc||New Zealand||France (Loire Valley)|
|Riesling||Washington State or Australia
||Germany or France|
|Pinot Noir||California||France (Burgundy region)|
||Napa Valley||France (Bordeaux region|
|Shiraz||Australia||Syrah from France (Rhone region)|