Old World VS New World: A preference?

Founded by the late Daniel Rogov, focusing primarily on wines that are either kosher or Israeli.

Old World VS New World: A preference?

Postby Gabriel Geller » Sun May 13, 2012 6:33 pm

Hi folks! I was just experiencing the main forum's Sunday Chat for the 1st time and while the atmosphere there was quite relax and not too serious, the discussion lead me to post this thread.

I personally find myself enjoying wines from practically all styles, whether new or old world, California fruit-forward-like wine to (french or not) bordeaux-blends, rhone-blends, burgundy as well as Italian, Spanish, Australia etc as long as the wine is well-made. With that said, I've noticed that several forumites here (I wont name them, I believe some of them will simply recognize themselves in this statement) show pretty much a clear tendency towards bordeaux-blends (mostly "original" French Chateaux) while some drink almost exclusively varietal wines.

The fact that I can enjoy all sorts of wine makes me believe that I can express the same level of interest toward the origins of any variety or wine making style, enabling me to further explain what I learn to other people and eventually better 'transmit' my love and understanding of the wine through the lecture (I know how this sounds, but whatever...). Therefore I gain much pleasure reading the blogs of some of you here as well as other books such as Rogov's. :)

So do you guys have a clear preference when it comes to a certain wine-making style and if you do, why?

Best,

GG
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Re: Old World VS New World: A preference?

Postby Craig Winchell » Sun May 13, 2012 10:07 pm

I have a strong preference towards classically styled wine. I think you might term it "old world", but the fact is that it's the style, not where it is made. And I must say that 100% Cabernet Sauvignon can be made in either style as well. It's not a matter of Bordeaux blends vs. varietal that dictates when a Cab-based wine is classically styled, it's the extract, acidity and alcohol/mouthfeel. One of the main things that started me in this forum was to refute Parker's love of Ch. Pavie as it came to be produced. I was a detractor of that style, a "new world" style in a classic region (St. Emilion). By the same token, his love of '82 Bordeaux rather than '81 or '83 was symptomatic, because '82 was much riper, higher alcohol, and generally not as tasty in my book. It did age, however, which is one area in which he was correct and others were incorrect, and it appealed to many. Syrah is another area in which we find ourselves wrestling with the old world/new world question. It's not really a wine to make ultra-ripe, despite my success with a 17% alcohol Syrah, or the group's fondness for PttP, and other ripe, high alc. wines. I challenge you to find a drinkable '88 among those types of wines, whereas it is not unheard of to find a Cote Rotie that is still lively. But it is a matter of opinion. For instance, few cellar for any length of time these days, and a new world style requires less cellaring, and should be pretty drinkable upon release. It therefore makes far more commercially attractive wines (dry reds) than old world styles.
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Re: Old World VS New World: A preference?

Postby Joshua London » Mon May 14, 2012 11:04 am

hmm... well depends what you mean really. I most definitely prefer real, honest wines to marketing driven, bogus wines -- but the old "Old versus New" debate doesn't really cover this ground anymore. That old dichotomy needlessly pits "traditionalists" against "innovators." But the overwhelming bulk of wine in the "old world" which aspires to go beyond mere plonk, much as in the "new world," is being made for marketers rather than wine lovers. Increasingly, commercial winemaking has become a form of manipulation which takes wine away from nature and into, as the late Louis Dresner once put it, "the technological world of fake extraction, fake aromatics, fake flavors, fake density, fake acidity, fake tannin levels, fake color and fake sugar levels." It is this harsh reality that the wine world has become stuck in -- consumers now look for such wines, so the folks who produce wine have to accommodate or risk losing their place in the market, and eventually going out of business altogether. Wine today is less of a natural, agricultural product, and more of a manipulated, artificial, manufactured product.

What makes wine fully pleasurable and truly fabulous for me is when there is balance between minerality, fruit, acidity, when there is real structure, and when the wine expresses a sense of place and time or at least a distinct personality and disposition. I want wines that intrigue and enlarge my senses. I do not really enjoy wines molded according to some "hedonistic, fruit bomb" notion of market utility. As good as wine has become globally, and it has become incredibly well made by and large, I'm looking for honest, real wines rather than a by the numbers production that could be made anywhere. I don't really follow the industry closely enough to lay full and total blame on a Parker, Rolland, Wine Spectator, Enologix, or anyone else (though they obviously do make for likely suspects), and anyway such debates [at least at that level] are only marginally relevant to the current world of kosher wines.
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Re: Old World VS New World: A preference?

Postby Yossie Horwitz » Mon May 14, 2012 11:33 am

...honest, real wines...


Sounds like it came directly from Alice Feiring's mouth (not that there is anything wrong with that) :-)

While I have my preferences in the varietals I like (i.e. Cabernet Franc, Syrah and more recently Carignan over Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir [although that is most likely due to the dearth of available quality kosher Pinot]), the type of wine I like to drink is so massively driven by circumstance (mood, ambiance, company, food, etc.), that to categorize it would be a little fruitless.

As Josh alluded to (although a conversation about natural and manipulated wines surely deserves an extended thread of its own), many wines made today are manipulated to a flavor profile that the consumer wants (or has been led to believe it prefers), so much so that a tremendous number of wines produced today are virtually indistinguishable from one another and have no sense of place whatsoever, while still being incredible well-made wines that are delicious from a "hedonistic" perspective - making them less interesting to me. While this was historically more true with so-called New-World wines, I believe that the Old World has fallen victim to the phenomenon as well. All this besides the fact that the distinction no longer really exists, with Israel being a good example of a basically New-World wine region (depsite if thousands of years of wine-making history) where a number of New-World trained winemakers are trying to make what may be referred to as Old-World wine.

Given the number of wines I taste annually, I tend to prefer the ones that stand out in their uniqueness while coupled with food friendliness, so that they enhance a food-related experience which tends to be the center, one way or another, of the majority of my social interactions. In my experience, single varietal wines (or with some small blending percentage to enhance all the wine can , as with Tzora's Shoresh Blanc (which has some Chardonnay in it), Recanati's Syrah or Shirah's Power to the People (both of which have a bit of Viognier) tend to provide more of that then blends, although that is a general statement that has many quality exceptions including Castel's Grand Vin, Tzora's Misty Hills, recently Carmel's Limited Edition, Recanati's Special Reserve and even the Katzrin wines from the Golan Heights Winery.

As to manipulation, I think it is an overused word (likewise with natural) and but suggest a seperate thread to discuss that issue.
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Re: Old World VS New World: A preference?

Postby Joshua London » Mon May 14, 2012 2:11 pm

Yossie Horwitz wrote:Sounds like it came directly from Alice Feiring's mouth (not that there is anything wrong with that) :-)


Who? I was actually channeling more my inner Nossiter, Jeffords, and Dressner, but I'd be very happy to learn of another opinion that validates my own. ;-)
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Re: Old World VS New World: A preference?

Postby YoelA » Mon May 14, 2012 2:32 pm

Well, I started drinking wine in New Yor, where California wines were very rare, so initially my taste was for "old world" wines, some of which turned out to be not that great when i had the chance to taste better ones. Then I moved to California and for a while was tasting and drinking both "old world" and "new world" wines, including wines made in California that were supposed to be aimed at making wines similar to certain"old world" wines (e.g., pinot noir supposedly made in the Burgundian style).

In the end, I suppose I still prefer most "old world" wines over most "new world" ones, which is probably due to a combination of my inital preferences for "old world" wines, reinforced by having tasted a lot of them in California in the 1970s and early 1980s, before the onset of wines made in the old world that were aimed at the "international" taste buds.

Nonetheless:

Despite there being some very good pinot noirs made in California and Oregon, nothing tastes quite like a good Burgundy.
Likewise, none of the syrahs tastes quite as good as one from the Northern Rhone (where, by the way, they have been addding a couple percent viognier to some for many years).
With one or two exceptions, California viogniers don't make it. Neither do nebbiolos (no exceptions here). And nothing resembles a German or Alsatian riesling or gewurtz.
The jury's still out on cabernet franc. As for cabernet sauvignon, it's not one of my favorite wines. And the only chardonnay I like is Chabils.

On the other hand:

The old world doesn't cut it on zinfandel or petite syrah.
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Re: Old World VS New World: A preference?

Postby Joshua London » Mon May 14, 2012 3:06 pm

Interesting comments, YoelA.

Brings to mind a pet notion, probably better as a separate thread if anyone cared, but I wonder whether or not it is still useful to think of wine much through the lens of varietal typicity. For example, is big, bold, aggressive, Zinny, fruit-bomb CA Pinot Noir (now, I'm told falling out of fashion as Brian Loring has settled down) a valid style of Pinot Noir or, for that matter, of Syrah? Is an ultra-ripe, high alcohol, fruit forward Napa Cab with heavy new oak to "balance" its gooey sweetness comparable in any meaningful way to a competent but non-90-Parker-point-scoring Cab heavy Bordeaux? What do I know... Maybe so... but somehow I don't know that it still conveys anything useful to talk in these terms. Seems to be pushing the category too far.

Consider this (to borrow an analogy from Dressner): Delta Blues and Heavy Metal are both related to the African music that came to the United Stated with the slaves. So, is a heavy metal freak someone who just happens to like their Delta Blues in a more up-front, aggressive, guitar-forward, pyrotechnic musical style than a Delta Blues fan?

A New Zealand Pinot Noir made with yeast treatments and all dolled up is not the same as a Pinot Noir from California on Steroids in tons of new oak and is not the same as La Tache which is not the same as well-made red Burgundy. Yes, there is a far-flung genetic connection, but given that everything else (from the root stock, to the climate, to the geology, to the winemaking, to the cuisine, to the cultural and consumer expectations) are seemingly so divergent, what is usefully communicated by calling these the same "family" of grape. Each of these would seem to be a distinct category, no?

Not to put the "old" or "classic" on some pedestal - far from it. I just think specificity would make wine discourse more meaningful.
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Re: Old World VS New World: A preference?

Postby Gabriel Geller » Mon May 14, 2012 4:07 pm

Josh and Yoel, this chat makes me want to see one day one of the guys here (perhaps you Yoel?) perform a blind comparative tasting side by side of the best (not necessarily kosher) PN from Burgundy (In Your Opinion, no decent kosher option available here anyway), the best PN from Israel (IYO, I'd suggest Livni, Gvaot and Ella Valley, you might consider non kosher as well, such as Pelter), the best PN from California and Oregon and say from NZ as well (IYO). Would be very interesting to reads the TNs! :)

As I reported, Eliav @ Gvaot told me last week that they hosted a few days before my visit a bunch of non-jewish/kosher wine folks from France who said that their 2010 Gvaot Pinot Noir could be compared with some excellent non-kosher stuff from Burgundy. I know actually a non-jewish and well worldwide-experienced winemaker here and would love to experience such a tasting with him including the Gvaot. Talking about presumably "manipulated"-wine, I discussed the '09 Livni with him recently and he seemed to know something he wouldn't disclose about it, anyway, whether true or not I must admit I'm intrigued.
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Re: Old World VS New World: A preference?

Postby Craig Winchell » Mon May 14, 2012 4:48 pm

La Tache which is not the same as well-made red Burgundy


Huh? Last time I looked, DRCs were typically pretty darned well-made red Burgundy. Or are you expressing a preference for Corton, or other Cote de Beaune as being more typical well-made red Burgundy?
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Re: Old World VS New World: A preference?

Postby Joshua London » Mon May 14, 2012 5:18 pm

Craig Winchell wrote:
La Tache which is not the same as well-made red Burgundy


Huh? Last time I looked, DRCs were typically pretty darned well-made red Burgundy. Or are you expressing a preference for Corton, or other Cote de Beaune as being more typical well-made red Burgundy?


:lol: No, no, I was simply writing quickly. I should have written it as "La Tache which is not the same as a well-made Bourgogne Rouge."
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Re: Old World VS New World: A preference?

Postby Jonathan K » Mon May 14, 2012 6:07 pm

Interesting conversation.
I actually enjoy wines in both new and old world style, but I generally find the old world style superior- it just depends on what I'm in the mood for.
For instance, I really enjoy the decidedly new-world Power to the People Syrah, but if I opened it expecting a Hermitage, I'd be very disappointed.
This is what kills me about the "Parkerization" of wines in general. I recently tried a 2000 Monbousquet (definitely made in the Pavie style that Craig mentioned earlier) and it was no doubt a well-made wine, but it doesn't really taste like Bordeaux to me. Where is that old world style? Where is that profile that you can only get in good Bordeaux and is practically impossible to recreate elsewhere? Maybe it is made for people that want to drink Bordeaux but don't really like Bordeaux.
There are plenty of times I am in the mood for and really enjoy highly extracted new world fruit bombs. It's just not what I am looking for from a St. Emilion or a Gevrey-Chambertin or a Northern Rhone Syrah.
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Re: Old World VS New World: A preference?

Postby Gabriel Geller » Mon May 14, 2012 7:04 pm

Jonathan K wrote:Maybe it is made for people that want to drink Bordeaux but don't really like Bordeaux.

Unfortunately many people are like that, such as some of the (kosher drinkers) french living here in Israel that out of wine-snobbism and showing off what I call "fake wine patriotism" will deny the existence of good israeli wine. Because in their view pretending to like exclusively some overpriced Bordeaux wine is so classy. I think it is quite on the contrary and that such behavior is pathetic because at the end of the day, those people don't really like wine in fact. They only just pretend they do so they may show off, often claiming to have a dozen cases in their basement of some randomly read-about Chateau that was never kosher-produced...
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Re: Old World VS New World: A preference?

Postby Yehoshua Werth » Mon May 14, 2012 8:23 pm

Laughing like the Stay Puff Marshmellow...

Wine is not a Region it is a taste.. If it tastes good from certain regions ..Great Yet.. Most places that are producing at any level have shure fire solid wines. Israel has better than average it is just younger in its New journey ;)
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Re: Old World VS New World: A preference?

Postby YoelA » Mon May 14, 2012 9:20 pm

Hey, Gabriel, good luck rounding up the wines for that sort of tasting!
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Re: Old World VS New World: A preference?

Postby Joel D Parker » Tue May 15, 2012 7:45 am

Don't we have to set boundaries for what makes "old world" different from "new world"? There are a number of factors that distinguish wines beyond the stylistic choices of the winemaker.

Macro-Climate. How much sun, rainfall, day/night temperature differences, and even wind and humidity are factors. This makes Israel very different from Bordeaux (and even places within Israel very different) and there ain't much we can do about that.

Micro-Climate, soils, etc. This is complex, but one example is the major differences between soil conditions of Cote D'Or and its surroundings, in one area wines are being sold for thousands of euros and a few kilometers outside they're growing potatoes or whatever.

When are they harvested is important, which is also related to the Macro-climate. Some places have early frost and can make ice-wines similar to their Central European counterparts. Here, the technique is still new in the New World, and arguably, there are still very few contenders, mainly in North America, to the 'real' thing in Europe.

One also has to take into account vine age and other things like that. Some New World vines are quite old and Old World vines are quite young, and most of us would prefer the former for varietals like Syrah or Petit Sirah. Some varietals, I understand, don't benefit much from age after a certain point.

Fermentation, wild, bought yeasts, length, etc. Wild yeasts are especially important for certain Old World wines like Sherry, where you cannot really make a New World equivalent without somehow buying the natural yeasts from the air in the area of Juarez, Spain. Tons of other examples could be added there. Obviously, an Old World producer could use similar bought yeasts as a New World one, but if they are sticking to natural stuff in the air, there is going to be a major difference between wine regions.

And dozens of other categories I don't have time to go into. I think overall the bottom line is that it takes a long time and a lot of experimentation to create world-class wine. A hundred years from now there may not be much difference between Oregon Pinot and Grand Cru Burgundy. But by then, probably not in price/availability either. At present, the classics are still classics for a reason, but that doesn't preclude newcomers in my book.

My 2 cents,

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