In “wine speak” the “New World” means anywhere outside Europe. As the explorers set out from Europe, they took the grapevine with them and planted it in many parts of the world.
Today, we here in the UK love our New World wines from countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Chile. They make many simple, inexpensive but good value wines for quaffing, but they also make some much more serious, premium quality wines.
Unencumbered with European bureaucracy and traditions, the winemakers in the New World have freedom to experiment with different grape varieties and winemaking techniques that would not be allowed in “the old country”. Ironically, some of these experimental techniques have now become totally main stream and re-imported into European winemaking.
Of course, we can’t do justice to an entire world of wine styles in just one evening, so we hope you will continue your wine journey, as this evening is the first of four looking at the wines of the New World in our 4-Week New World Wine Course.
- We start our journey in the country that supplies more wine to the UK than any other – Australia, with what for many encompasses a New World wine, an Australian Chardonnay. Although this variety is widely planted in Australia and is a mainstay of many of the “big brands”, it grows better in slightly cooler regions and can produce a variety of wine styles depending on what the winemaker decides to do. We sample a wine from a smaller producer showcasing what can be done with care to make a very interesting wine.
- Staying in Australia, we journey to the oldest wine producing region: the Hunter Valley where the Semillon grape reigns supreme. The unique climate here – warm but cloudy, produces a wine style that is unique in the world, and we sample one of these true Aussie classics tonight.
- Our third sample wine is Gewurztraminer, a grape associated more with Alsace in France than anywhere else. Planted in New Zealand or the cooler parts of Chile it can make highly aromatic wines, “Turkish Delight in a glass” perhaps, and very good value they are too.
- The largest wine-producing country outside Europe is the USA and it is sunny California that is the centre of American wine production. Here many famous grape varieties are grown and all quality levels from very basic to super premium. Tonight, we pick out a less well-known grape variety that is well-suited to the Californian climate; an aromatic Viognier.
- So far, all our wines have been white, but black grapes love a bit of heat and nowhere more so than South Africa. The climate here is warm, but moderated by the Ocean and in locations such as Stellenbosch and Franschhoek they have ideal conditions for producing deeply coloured, full-bodied red wines, from varieties such as Merlot which we sample tonight.
- Finally, a variety many have not heard of from a country that exports very little of its wine. Tannat is a French grape that in its home country produces very tannic wines that need years of ageing before they are drinkable. In the warmer climate of Uruguay, the tannins are much softer allowing its fruity character to come through.
This is a stand-alone event, but also part of our 8-Week World of Wine Course, an exploration tasting 50 wines from 12 countries after which your wine knowledge would have increased hugely.
If 8 weeks is too much commitment, or perhaps your interest is only in New World wines, we also offer a 4-Week New World Wine Course where we visit Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, South Africa and the USA in more depth to pick up where this event left off.
All the events can also be booked as individual events, although it’s much more cost effective to book them as part of the 4-week or 8-week course.
Professional ISO tasting glasses, all course materials including tasting sheets & water are provided, along with a few nibbles to help the wine along.