Old World vs. New: Distinction fading?
Remember the old joke about how everyone in the world is divided into two groups: Those who divide everything into two groups, and those who don't? I've long treated the world of wine in much the same way, dividing all wines into two categories: Old World (Europe), wines that speak of the earth and a sense of place; versus fruit-driven, big and bold wine styles from the New World (The Americas and Down Under).
In an era when an Argentine Malbec, an Australian Shiraz, a California Pinot Noir and an Italian Nero d'Avola can all taste very much alike (and not unlike an alcoholic blueberry milkshake); when Italian Primitivo zeroes in on its American sibling Zinfandel in style, and when some Burgundies and Rhone reds are showing distinctly California accents (particularly in torrid vintages like 2003), the "Old World" terminology simply doesn't work well any more. And it gets even more complicated when you consider the growing ranks of New World wines that show distinct terroir (sense of place).
Accordingly, I propose new terminology: Never mind where the wines are from. In place of "Old World," let's say "Traditional." Instead of "New World," let's use "Modern."
This week's Wine Lovers' Voting Booth offers the opportunity to take sides under this new paradigm, as we ask, "What's your preference: Traditional or Modern?"
TALK ABOUT WINE ONLINE
Then, if you'd like to talk more about your preference (and I hope you will), join in a round-table online discussion in our interactive Wine Lovers' Discussion Group, where you're always welcome to join in the conversations about wine.
If you prefer to comment privately, feel free to send me E-mail at email@example.com. I'll respond personally to the extent that time and volume permit.
PRINT OUT TODAY'S ARTICLE
No matter how you define it, today's tasting - a current offering from The California Wine Club's International Selections, falls clearly into both the "Old World" and the "Traditional" category, offering good, fresh fruit and steely acidity in a wine of delicacy and balance, with a classic slatey minerality that speaks distinctly of the Rhine.
Karl Joh. Molitor 2002 Hattenheimer (Rheingau) Riesling Kabinett
This is a clear, pale brass-color wine, light gold with just a glint of green. Characteristic Rhine Riesling aromas blend whiffs of musky canteloupe with luscious mango and tangerine and an attractive piney back note. Light, fresh-fruit sweetness on the palate is nicely balanced with crisp Germanic acidity that builds a firm structure, barely off-dry, with a clean note of the slatey minerality that distinguishes German Riesling just underneath. Cleansing, lemon-squirt acidity lingers in a long finish, making this a delightful wine for quaffing or pairing with a broad variety of foods. U.S. importer: Victoire Imports Co., San Leandro, Calif. (Aug. 22, 2005)
FOOD MATCH: Riesling is to white wine as Pinot Noir is to red: It is among the most food-friendly of wines. I'm enjoying this item with a mild artisanal Emmentaler-type cheese from Indiana, but it would fare well with a wide range of fish and seafood, poultry or pork.
VALUE: The California Wine Club's International Selections offers a thrifty way to enjoy wines of value. Broadly speaking, German Rieslings at the Kabinett level remain one of the best wine categories for consistent value at everyday prices.
WHEN TO DRINK: Riesling may be one of the most ageworthy whites, running a close race with Chenin Blanc for the cellarability crown. That said, however, this one is stoppered with a synthetic closure, suggesting that it's not a candidate for a long stay in the cellar. It's faring well now, but I'd drink it up over the next year.
FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
To find information on availability and prices for Molitor's wines in general, check the databases at Wine-Searcher.com:
California Wine Club: A German Symphony
Molitor Estate, a small, family-owned and operated winery for more than 100 years is striving to put Germany back on top of the world market.
The California Wine Club has two of Molitor's handcrafted gems available now. The Molitor 2002 Pinot Noir Trocken Rheingau with hints of almond harmonizing with a velvety mouthfeel has a handsome, lengthy finish. The Molitor 2002 Hattenheimer Riesling Kabinett Rheingau carries the flag for the German heritage of fine Rieslings. Laced with hints of raisin it is crisp, proud and delicious.
These wines are available in the United States only through The California Wine Club's International Selections. Call 1-800-777-4443 or visit the Club's International Selections page online at
Discover Oporto and the Douro with Roy Hersh
If you love Port and Madeira, chances are that you've already "met" my good pal Roy Hersh, who has generously contributed hundreds of tasting reports, background notes and travel tips about Port as primary contributor to our Words About Port pages.
Now Roy and his associate Mario Ferreira have launched a wine-travel business, M & R's Specialty Tours of Port & Madeira, leading escorted VIP tours of both regions, featuring unforgettable, behind-the-scenes tastings at some of Portugal's most legendary Port houses.
Their first tour, an all-inclusive six-day, seven-night trip to Portugal's Oporto, Vila Nova de Gaia and the Douro Valley, is scheduled for Oct. 24-29. A full dozen visits are scheduled to Port lodges in Oporto and Quintas in the Douro, plus quality lodging and three meals daily, not to mention a spectacularly scenic train ride up the Douro and a boat ride on the river, all of it enhanced by Roy and Mario's expertise.
If you love Port, you will not want to miss this opportunity to get to know the region up close and personally. For full information, visit Hersh's new Website, For the Love of Port,
This week on WineLoversPage.com
Here are links to some of our recently published articles that I think you'll enjoy:
Bucko's Wine Reports: More Summer 2005 releases
Wine Lovers' Discussion Group: Germany - Land of boring wine, or wine heaven?
Last Week's Wine Advisor Index
We took a couple of days off for a family trip last week, so there was no Wine Advisor on Wednesday and no FoodLetter on Thursday. Here's the abbreviated index to last week's columns:
Speaking of cork ... (Aug. 19, 2005)
The acid test (Aug. 15, 2005)
Complete 30 Second Wine Advisor archive:
Wine Advisor Foodletter archive:
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Monday, Aug. 22, 2005