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Old World Wines vs. New World Wines - Printable Version

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- wondersofwine - 03-29-2007 03:09 PM

I can't seem to locate my notes on the Lange wine dinner in Raleigh. If they don't turn up this weekend I will post very brief summary next week.
The third meeting of the Fayetteville Wine Society on March 26 featured three flights of two wines each--same grape variety--one old world sample and one new world sample. They were served half blind (we knew what wines were being served but not in what order). Actually, the contrasts were great enough that even most of the less experienced wine drinkers were able to correctly guess which was which. In the first two pairings I preferred the Old World wine but was probably in the minority. With the third pairing I wasn't very thrilled with either wine.

Pairing #1 Riesling--Josmeyer Riesling "Le Dragon" 2001, Alsace, France
Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling "Eroica" 2005,
Columbia Valley, Washington State

Josmeyer wines produced with biodynamic techniques--Alsace allows chapitalization, addition of sugar during the winemaking process if needed to balance acids

My preference was for the Alsatian Riesling which was dryer, richer and more mouthfeel than the Eroica.

Pairing #2 Merlot
Chateau De Sales Pomerol 2003, Pomerol, Bordeaux, France
Northstar Merlot 2002, Columbia Valley, Washington State
Here I thought the 2003 vintage might throw off the judgment because I would expect riper, jammier fruit in Europe that vintage but it was still easy to pick the Old World wine. One lady at my table who runs a wine shop kept describing the Pomerol as "dirty." I would have chosen "earthy" as a descriptor and have had far earthier wines at that. In fact, the Pomerol was my favorite of the evening and the only one I may purchase. (We have 30 days to purchase at a discounted price for society members. Still rather high for my budget at $32.25 a bottle.)
The sommelier spoke about the Old World wines having more tannins but the Pomerol was very well balanced IMHO. It was less dense and a fainter color than the Northstar Merlot. Both wines had about 75% Merlot; the Pomerol also has Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. The Pomerol was leggy on the sides of the glasses. The Northstar was jammy and showed some definite oak influence, both of which helped me select it as the New World example.

Pairing #3 Syrah
M. Chapoutier Crozes-Hermitage "La Petite Ruche", 2004, Northern Rhone, France
Two Hands Shiraz "Gnarly Dudes" 2005, Barossa Valley, South Australia

The Australian Shiraz had more finish, was darker and denser and leggy on the glass. Neither sample had the polish and balance of tannin, fruit, acid, complexity that distinguishes the best Syrah for me.

We had platters of fruit and cheese, crackers, and chewy bread with nice herbed olive oil to accompany our tasting. I thought the Pomerol went nicely with some of the cheeses while the Northstar did not.

$15 for the tasting and we received copious material on the grapes and wines with regional maps of the Rhone Valley, etc.

The April meeting will feature Spanish wines.


- Innkeeper - 03-29-2007 03:20 PM

Very nice notes WOW. It may seem like a broken record, but it I really believe in no Crozes before its time. This is true for just about all Northern Rhones, but people tend to shrug off the Crozes because of its lower price. I have never enjoyed one that was less than five years old, and never have failed to enjoy one that was five years old or older.


- wondersofwine - 03-29-2007 06:47 PM

Good point IK about the youth of the Crozes. I find St. Joseph too tannic also when young but I wasn't getting either a lot of tannin or a lot of flavor in this particular Crozes. Maybe I would like it if tasted in a few more years but I'm not sure.


- TheEngineer - 03-30-2007 12:44 AM

Thanks for the idea of flight tastings that I can do at home with some friends! Sounds like it was a good time too!


- dananne - 03-31-2007 07:15 PM

As always, Jane, thanks for the notes. If you haven't located the notes from the Lange event, I was wondering if you'd give some general comments. Anne and I loved Lange the year we met with you out there, but when we revisited them last year, they disappointed a bit. We only bought the '04 Reserve -- and at $60, I can't say it was a bargain by any means. Don't know if you had a chance to try any '05s, but I'd be interested to see if they showed better. Thanks in advance for any comments you might be able to provide.


- wondersofwine - 04-03-2007 06:55 PM

Haven't forgotten, Dan. Just been busy. I will post some notes tomorrow (Wednesday).