Old World versus New World. How wines are labeled.
Updated: Apr 1, 2019
Old World wines are wines made in Europe, the places that have been making wine the longest (France, Italy, Germany, Spain, etc.).
These wines are typically labeled by the place/region the wine comes
from (example: Sancerre).
New World wines are wines from everywhere else (United States, Canada, South America, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, etc.) and are typically labeled by the grape inside that bottle (example: merlot).
You might find you purchase more New World wines because the label makes more
sense (you plainly see the grape listed). You are not alone.
My hope is that, with the breakdown below, you will feel empowered to buy more Old World wines because you will understand what’s in them.
Here are some Old World examples:
~Sancerre. Is Sancerre the place or the grape? You guessed it. Sancerre is a region in
The Loire Valley of France. The grape inside that bottle? 100% Sauvignon Blanc.
~Barolo and Barbaresco. Again, these are Old World, Italian wines. These are places. The grape in the bottle? Nebbiolo.
~Chablis (Burgundy, France). 100% Chardonnay- A must try if you think all chards are oak monsters!
~Vouvray? 100% Chenin Blanc.
~Puilly Fumé? 100% Sauvignon Blanc.
~Chianti? The grape is Sangiovese.
~Chinon? Cabernet Franc.
~Rioja? The grape is Temprañillo (with sometimes Grenache blended in).
~Burgundy (and the juice in the bottle is red)? Pinot Noir.
~Burgundy (and the juice in the bottle is white)? Chardonnay.
These are just a few of the examples. I know it sounds like a lot…almost like learning another language (which it kind of is) but remember that Old World wines are vastly unlike New World wines (I will break this down in another blog post).
My homework for you, Wine Savvy drinkers: Purchase a grape you enjoy but from the Old World. It will taste completely different but you may just like it better. You're welcome.