Friday, July 31, 2009

Wine Tasting Recap - Old World v. New World

Last night, Thursday July 30th, Stephanie and I presented a comparison tasting of Old World and New World wines in our upstairs tasting room. I thought it was a great tasting that really stressed the stylistic difference between “Old World” and “New World” wines. While I do think the terms are too general, the “New World” wines tended to show more upfront fruit, obvious oak influence, and less long term structural elements (hard acids and tannins) than their “Old World” counterparts. All wine’s were tasted blind, in flights of two. None of the taster’s, including Stephanie or myself knew which wine was the “New World” example or “Old World” example. Here is a brief recap of the flights;

Flight 1 Sauvignon Blanc

“Old World” – F&J Francis Bailly Sancerre 2007 – Elegant nose of wet stone, mineral and lemon, with great depth on the palate and finish. The acidity was extremely well integrated and finish was long with mineral elements dominating. Classic Sancerre.

“New World” – Cloudy Bay Marlborough New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc 2008 – WOW, this is an absolutely delicious example of classic Marlborough flavors. Showing ripe grapefruit, grass, and very well integrated minerality. The wine was super well integrated and finished with refreshing acidity, without being artificial at all! (My biggest complaint with NZ SBs) This is a gorgeous wine, the best Coudy I have had in years!

Flight 2 Chardonnay

“Old World” - Albert Bichot Chablis Premier Cru Les Vaucopins 2006, Domaine Long-Depaquit – You could tell the difference right on the nose between the two, but it really exploded on the palate. This Chablis showed classic stoney, flinty elements intertwined with citrus fruit and a good chalky like texture. The acid creeps up on you, and is relaly well integrated into the wine. Delicious stuff…screaming for oysters!

“New World” – Chalk Hill Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2006 – I was really impressed with this wine, but you could definitely tell that it was a Cali Chardonnay. All that buttered popcorn and toasty oak burst out on the palate and hangs out right to the end. The ripe tropical fruit was still evident, and finished with a dollop of acid. Tasty

Flight 3 Pinot Noir

“Old World” – Pierre Naigeon Gevrey-Chambertin 2005 – I was slightly disappointed with this wine, I remembered it tasting much better last time I tasted it. The fruit was a little “stewed” almost macerated. The finish and palate were good, and it showed classic Gevrey stoney fruit on the palate…but just a little…blahhh

“New World” – Marimar Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2005 – Perfect example of a well built RRV Pinot Noir. The spice and ripeness were present, but restrained and very well matched with a nice backdrop of acid in a silky frame. Good stuff, better than I remembered.

Flight 4 Grenache

“Old World” – Domaine Saint-Damien Gigondas Les Souteyrades 2006 – This wine is a ROCKSTAR! Seriously, talk about bang for your buck, this bad boy retails under $30 and has a shelf life of at least a decade! I know I am buying a few more(already have two in my cellar). Showed classic red fruit, dark spices, and a wet stone element that I found very intriguing, all wrapped in a powerhouse frame of tannins and acid that will easily let this wine age for 10 years! I can’t think of a better Southern Rhone for under $30, just an outstanding Grenache, my #2 wine of the night! (It will probably end up in the Ryan’s Favorite Wine’s tasting next Thursday!)

“New World” – Broc Cellar’s Dry Stack Vineyard Grenache 2005 – This was a shocker…it was really good! I haven’t tasted this wine in over a year, and remembered liking it…but I was really expecting to be disappointed. It showed great red Grenache fruit, but was masterfully blended with a new world ripeness and well balanced (but obvious) sweet vanilla and cedar oak flavors. Still maintained a freshness from still present acidity, it should drink well for another few years. A very good bottle of wine, and it was a crowd favorite as well.

Flight 5 Cabernet Sauvignon (mostly)

“Old World” – Chateau Haut Bailly Grand Cru Classe Pessac-Leognan 2004 – I am in love with this wine…seriously, I only wish everyone could have finished their night with a glass after it had been open for about 5 hours like I did. The 2004 vintage has decades left in the bottle, but is really showing what Bordeaux is all about right now. It shows incredible cigar box, with tobacco, fresh mint, and Asian spices mixed with dark red fruit and an incredible backbone of tannins and refreshing acidity. This is a wine to be held, and loved…and the price/quality ratio is ridiculous! My favorite of the night, especially after revisiting it later. If you plan to drink it soon, please decant for at least two hours!!! Also owned by M&T’s Robert Wilmers…

“New World” – Karl Lawrence Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 - While I loved the Bordeaux, I couldn’t resist this spectacular Napa Cabernet either! This is really what Napa is all about, hedonistically delicious and massive Cabernet’s that don’t need decades to enjoy. Shows sexy ripe fruit, sweet oak, and a caressing mouthfeel…while I would marry the Haut Bailly, I would have an affair with the Karl Lawrence, its like the wine equivalent of Scarlett Johansson…too sexy to resist!

All this for $25!!!! You must be kicking yourself if you missed this!!! Don’t miss the next one!


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