The old and new worlds
No two wines are same, as the saying goes.
There is plenty to be said about various wine grapes and winemaking processes, but what about the ancient and new worlds?
In some regions of the world, winemaking techniques haven’t altered much over the years as vintners honor the traditional methods of creating the world’s favorite “grape juice.” But with the emergence of “New World” winemaking regions in nations like America, Argentina, and even our own celebrated Australia, contemporary winemakers in many regions have chosen to experiment with new techniques in the hope of producing something truly novel and distinctive—something that the traditional makers were yet to do.
While you might assume that the old and new worlds would be divided according to the methods employed to create the wines of a certain place, the division originates from those areas that already have a developed wine culture.
Wine has been produced for thousands of years in areas like Bordeaux and Bourguignonne in France, the Tuscan valley in Italy, and even Basque territory in Northern Spain. While the Barossa Valley and even Victoria’s own Yarra Valley are teeming with new world winemakers who are exploring novel approaches, experimenting with blends, and even putting fresh spins on time-honored favorites.
Many of the most prestigious wineries in the Yarra Valley are among our many cherished and enduring connections here at Winery Tour Yarra Valley.
Wines by Steel’s Gate
In Steels Creek, Victoria, Australia, there is a stunning boutique vineyard and winery called Steels Gate. This 82-acre property, which is almost entirely surrounded by National Park, produces Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes over 6 acres of vines, the majority of which were planted in the late 1970s. The cellar door was eventually built in 2009.
Old World Techniques, New World Wine
Matt and Brad from Steel’s Gate have been in charge of the viticulture on their Home Block vineyard for the past 9 years, specializing in Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Blanc de Blanc, Pinot/Chardonnay Sparkling, Pinot Noir Rose, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, and Semillon varieties. Their goal is to produce wine that expresses the natural characteristics of the fruit from each site.
Since roughly ten years ago, Steel’s Gate has been making some exceptional New World wines, ranging from their strong, juicy Home Block Pinot Noir to a classic Blanc de Blancs.
Geographic and culinary
While tradition certainly has an impact on the method winemakers use when selecting what kind of craftsmanship to use and, ultimately, what kind of wine style they intend to achieve, geography has a significant role in the flavor profile of wines.
Both of these methods, which are referred to as “Old World” and “New World,” give rise to two quite different wine types.
New vs. Old
The historic wine-producing nations of Europe, such as France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal, are linked to “Old World” wines. These areas are well-known for their long history of wine production, and the wines produced there frequently exhibit the elegance and refinement that attract wine connoisseurs from throughout the world.
On the other hand, “New World” wines come from nations where the wine industry is a relatively young one. regions with a recent history of winemaking, such as North America, Australia, and New Zealand. Climate-wise, these wine-producing nations frequently differ from their European equivalents. These “New World” areas frequently have longer, warmer summers, which produce riper fruit with more obvious varietal characteristics.
What’s the distinction?
The Old World winemaking method is steeped in history and conjures up memories of time-honored, traditional winemaking techniques where, due to the climate, the varietal expression is subdued so the winemaker can concentrate more on creating a wine with superb structure and texture.
In order to maintain harmony with these more delicate varietal expressions, the Old World style makes use of gentler, more restrained oak flavor profiles. These wines are frequently characterized by the winemaker’s understanding of the philosophy of blending, where the winemaker seeks to achieve a “seamless transition across the palate” from beginning to conclusion.
Since the temperature in the New World is generally warmer, winemakers there frequently emphasize the overt primary fruit qualities that Mother Nature naturally imparts. Again, in order to maintain balance, the winemakers may use more prominent oak flavors and produce wines that are considerably fuller-bodied than those from Europe.
These elements stand out especially in the prestigious large & bold Shiraz style for which Australia is most well-known.
Not always is newer better
It depends totally on your preferences, palate, and the way you want to drink the wine.
Old World-style wines are frequently created with the idea of cellaring, allowing the gradual development of palate structure and character. This strategy is regarded by some as the gold standard for producing great wines, especially the robust Cabernet Sauvignon from Bordeaux, France.
New World wines, in contrast, exhibit ample and bright fruit flavors that some drinkers would prefer to consume young. The strong and full-bodied wines of the New World are frequently ideal accompaniments to be enjoyed right away because they don’t require waiting.
There has been much discussion about which is superior, which aspects of each world are redeemable, and which aspects may be enhanced or modified ever since the New World of winemaking rose to prominence. But one thing is certain: wine enthusiasts and winemakers will continue to be charmed by the rich diversity and approachability of all styles from across both the delectable and broad realms of wine, whether you like to live in the moment or bide your time.
Take a sip!
Winery Tour Yarra Valley
Unit 201/98 River Esplanade
Docklands, VIC 3008
(03) 7042 3201