Whether you’re a seasoned connoisseur or just enjoy the occasional glass of wine with dinner, you probably have a go-to varietal—or maybe you prefer that your vino comes from a specific region. But did you know there’s a difference between old and new world wine? The terms “new world” and “old world” aren’t necessarily synonymous with prestige, but each bottle has a flavor profile that will mesh well with different dishes.
Kyle Goebel, Assistant General Manager at the Lytle Park Hotel, sat down to discuss the differences between old and new world wine and share a few helpful tips on how to order your next glass at Subito, the hotel’s traditional Italian restaurant.
Location, Location, Location
“Old world wine originated in the Caucasus Mountains in the Middle East—think Tigris and Euphrates rivers and the Fertile Crescent,” says Goebel. “This is where we first grew the wine grape. And classically speaking, anything in the Middle East or Western Europe is old world. France, Italy, Spain, Portugal—anything other than that is considered new world wine.” The location also dictates taste as well.
Typically, the grapes grown in old world regions are colder, meaning that the grapes do not ripen as they do in warmer climates. With colder-climate grapes, the resulting wine is more earthy, mineral-like, herbal, and lighter in body. If you’re into fruit-forward wines, old world might not for you.
Regulation is a key differentiator
Much like bourbon, regulation differentiates an old world wine from a new-world wine. “Old world has a million strict rules and laws that you have to abide by,” says Goebel. “Everything from the [number] of vines you’re allowed to place per acre or hectare. The type of grape you’re allowed to grow on that land. The method you’re allowed to use to create that wine. How long you have to store it in oak barrels, if you’re allowed to store it. New world has very few rules—almost like the wild west of wine.”
New world wine is named by variety. Old world wine is named by growing region.
Next time you look at a wine list and find yourself struggling to recognize the foreign-sounding names on the page, it might be because the wines are named by region. Goebel says Champagne and Chianti are perfect examples. Neither refer a variety of grape—Champagne is a renowned wine region in France, while Chianti is in Italy. New world wine is named by varietal. Think pinot gris, rosé, and cabernet.
Order a dish that will complement your wine
When you’re deciding on a bottle, Goebel recommends choosing based on how well the wine will pair with your meal. Sound confusing? It doesn’t have to be! Try Subito’s Panzanella, made with lacinato kale, heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, focaccia and Stracciatella cheese (similar to burrata), paired with a glass of Chianti. Both are native to Tuscany and will complement one another beautifully.
Now that you’re a wine expert, enjoy a half-priced bottle at Subito’s Wine Wednesdays
Subito celebrates Vino Mercoledi every Wednesday with select half-priced wine. Whether you’re a bona fide wine enthusiast or just enjoy a glass with dinner, the staff at Subito are sure to recommend a vino you’ll enjoy.