Friday, January 06, 2006

Old World v. New World

There seems to be a lot of debate (and flames!) recently on the wine blog forums about old world and new world wines. Last night I got a chance to taste both and came away enjoying both. This is not an apples to apples comparison as the wines are different varietals and I am not sure about the comparable qualities of the vintages in each region, but I think the exercise points out the differences, and it was a great evening with good friends on a cold winter night next to a roaring fire.

1999 Silver Oak, Anderson Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($ ) -- This was a magnum brought in by a friend from his cellar. It is one of his favorite producers. Beside being very "smooth" what you pick up mostly is the oak and vanilla. As a pre-dinner refreshment it was very good and I understand it's popularity around the table and the country. But maybe it it too monolithic in that the primary experience is oak. Again I enjoyed this wine, but I don't think it would have fared well with the dinner, nor would I want to drink it all night.

1999 Chateau Angelus St. Emilion Grand Cru Classe ($85) -- The nose was at first earthy and later after an hour diminished while the fruit flavors were full with lots of tannin, but not overly drying, and a long finish. Nothing thin about this wine. Almost meaty as I am guessing that this wine would improve with 5 to 10 more years of cellaring. It is not a simple California Merlot, but had lots of character and elegance, almost big. It went very well with the food without competing. I would buy again and stash away a few bottles to open in a few years.

So I came away from the evening enjoying both "styles" as each has its place and audience without a need for the rhetoric of "real" wines and "spoofalation" and personal attacks. I think its great that we have so many choice. So many wines, so little time!


Anonymous beau said...

Mighty diplomatic of you, Sir. I nominate Jens as the first wine blog ambassador (and if things get to snarky, you can always refer folks to your newest hire..).

7:34 PM  
Blogger jens at cincinnati wine said...

Thanks. I have watched the fur fly but can't understand the need for hostility. Some people prefer Coke over Pepsi, some prefer Hellmans over Miracle Whip, some prefer Lucky Strikes. What's the big deal. To each his own. Now if you want to have a heated discussion about the benefits and qualities of Two Buck Chuck or Crane Lake, then you might get a rise out of me, or I might just sit there smugly why I sip my 1999 Angelus Grand Cru St. Emilion and nod that yes that Crane Lake Merlot is a great value!

jens at cincinnati fine wine

1:29 PM  
Anonymous Lenn said...


Too bad about the Cincinati Bungles...but I'm sure you're used to it after so many years ;) know I had to comment.

8:21 PM  

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