New World vs Old World: Shifting Fields & Dreams

cupcake batter

cupcake batter

The division between the New and the Old Worlds of wine may be shifting. What isn’t? Not talking NDLS even though Los Doyers are hitting big and takin’ no prizners. We could be talking global warming which may be changing the way the Old World and New World play ball [ed. you had to bring that up didn’t you]. Old World wines may be more fruity than before. Pinot Noir from Germany and Alto Adigio may rival Burgundy. The cooler Willamette Valley may be getting more annual sunny days raising the fruit flavors and alcohol levels for what we consider to be the ablest region for Pinot Noir in the nation. Farmers in the Kohanagen Valley in Canada – recently limited to “ice” dessert wines – are growing warm weather varietals. Los Doyers will play for the National League title. Kiffin is GONE. Do any mysteries remain?

Implications? Conclusions? Understanding? Meh. Let’s have a tasting and find out. Here is what we learned this week.

PhilHill07WEB2007 Phillips Hill Oppenlander Pinot Noir $32: This was the highlight wine “discovery” when we visited Mendocino’s Anderson Valley in 2009. The lean lush fruit grabbed us by the tucchus and gave us a smooch! [ed. that is disgusting.] Our notes say the 2006 Oppenlander knocked us out and 2007 was a more lean vintage. This has not held up well. The wine is falling apart and the fruit is giving up the ghost. We pulled out after the winemaker insisted on selling the horrid 2008 fire-tainted vintage so we have not tried the 2009 or more recent vintages. The low alcohol also held appeal. But that was ten and half a decade later we have thrown in with Burgundy selected by our dealer. 14.2%

paullato06PNWEB2006 Paul Lato “Duende” Gold Coast Vineyard Pinot Noir $60: Better than the PH but also losing sight of the winemaking raison d’etre: to enjoy with food. What we mean is that the wine is too big to enjoy with food. We have found this to be the trend in the Santa Rita Hills – with a few exceptions. Paul’s wine holds up better than above BUT it comes off a bit flabby. Again, we admit we have not tasted anything past 2006 from the wonderful Mr. Lato. All we know is we are surprised that the alcohol is listed at 14.5%.

StAntonin10WEB2010 Domain St Antonin Fagueres “Lou Cazalet” $12: This Old World entry from a region in the formerly unfashionable Languedoc [ed. only for a century or two] scores in the “high 80s” on Wine Searcher and Cellar Tracker whereas the two New World wines get 90+ points on the amateur wine sites. Tasting notes on the amateur sites call out brett [ed. no way] and “boozy nutty full bodied.” Not what we tasted… more like cocoa, light to middle weight with mini stuffing. Even Mrs tBoW liked it, noting that it did have some body [ed. wow she is so New World]. This wine has mostly Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and old vine Carignane. For our taste this showed much more character than the above wines. It delivered “regional” in a wine glass. And what about the price-to-quality ratio? Where are the young ‘uns? This is their wine. Another great Garagiste pick. 15%

We are picking through the New World babies that remain in the cellar and restocking in Burgundy, Piemonte and Alta Rioja with a smattering of Bolgheri. We will buy Willamette but first we have to put the recently sampled Pinot Noirs from Oregon to the test. Soon my pretties. Soon.

I like watching Los Doyers play and I love watching Yasiel Puig strike out. But Juan Uribe’s home run to beat Braves and win 2013 NLDS was instant classic.


  1. Wavatar
    doctore says:

    Not only do I appreciate your taste in wine, but in baseball teams as well. Welcome aboard!

  2. Wavatar
    Adri says:

    Grabbed you by your tucchus and gave you a smooch. Oy vey. I’m with the editor on that one. I am sorry that grabby bottle has not held up well, but I can relate… I haven’t either.

    I like this old world new world comparison deal, even though I have gone decidedly old world with my fervor for wines from the old country – um, er that would be Italy. I have to say I can get behind lower alcohol wines. When we were kids, weren’t most of them lower?? What’s with this 14% solution, anyway? See – I am in need of an education.

    • Wavatar
      Bacchus says:

      Adri-la…Old World Italian hard to beat. Many of the wines we like on this blog are 13% or less. That would include Mosel (gets down to 11%), Barolo (Piemonte) and Burgs at 13%. The Cab based wine from Bolgheri which is low low lowest Tuscany hit 14% BUT they are the Cab blends I prefer to all others. I apologize now for all the times I may have grabbed your tushie. xoxo

  3. Wavatar
    Kris-B says:

    Okanagan Valley?

Got something to add?