Comparing Old World vs New World

May 09, 2019

Bruce Palling, Wine Editor for The Week Wines, has chosen six bottles from Lea & Sandeman for his May collection.

Bruce Palling imageI thought it might be interesting to compare and contrast identical grape varieties when grown in different parts of the world. Three of the most well known — Riesling, Chardonnay and Shiraz — now have worldwide reputations far beyond their initial success in Germany, Burgundy and the Northern Rhone. It’s intriguing to see whether these wines from “New World” destinations have strayed from their original characteristics. The progress that has been made in all wine growing areas is extraordinary. You might be surprised at how difficult it is to predict which is New World or Old World with these wines, so try them “blind” first — and get friends involved for a fantastic dinner party.

The wines are available by the grape variety in cases of 12, giving you six of both — or, if you want to try them all, then a mixed case of 12 will give you two of each wine for just £185 (that’s £15.42 per bottle) — saving £38.40.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I have (the German Riesling was the standout favourite for me this month!). 

Bruce Palling signature

Bruce Palling 
Wine Editor | The Week Wines

 

THE RIESLING CASE 

This case includes six each of the following bottles:
Riesling Braunewell Trocken Weingut, Germany 2017, 12.5%
Riesling Tongue in Groove Waipara, New Zealand 2015, 13%

In the past, Riesling was much maligned due to its excessive sweetness, yet there are now infinite styles of Riesling, and great examples throughout the New World. The attractive thing about Riesling is how accurately it reflects the  characteristics of its particular vineyards, not to mention it can be incredibly long lasting and is rarely high in alcohol. Riesling should be dry but often may have considerable amounts of residual sugar — the only way around this is to insist on ones that are bone dry. No such reservations need be held for the Braunewell, which has a sparkling citric flavour with a refreshing aftertaste of grapefruit and apricots. It only got better the longer it was open. Compare this to the Tongue in Groove, which is made by a group of wine lovers at Waipara on the South Island of New Zealand. This has 5% of botrytised or “noble rot” grapes, giving it a luscious honeyed texture. Ironically, each of these wines displays the opposite
style to what you’d expect, but it is irrelevant when you’re enjoying them. 

CASE PRICE (SIX BOTTLES OF EACH): £182 -  SAVING £37

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THE SHIRAZ/SYRAH CASE 

This case includes six each of the following bottles:
Crozes Hermitage Cuvée Ghany Domaine Gaylord Machon 2015, France, 13%
Bugalugs Barossa Shiraz Tim Smith Wines 2017, Australia, 14.5%

The Syrah/Shiraz grape is at the heart of the great wines of Northern Rhône, such as Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie, plus the other appellations such as Cornas and Crozes-Hermitage. These wines are longer lasting and less fruit driven than the wines of the southern Rhône, which are dominated by the Grenache grape.

Shiraz first arrived in Australia nearly 200 years ago and was famous for its “sweaty saddle” leather and eucalyptus flavours and is the main component of Grange, Australia’s most famous wine. This Crozes-Hermitage has a wonderful racy style and is remarkably open knit — there is nothing closed in or heavy about this wine. Despite the cheeky name, Bugalugs (Australian slang for mate) has bags of fruit and straightforward charm, which probably explains why it is the house wine of Grange Park Opera in Surrey. Tim Smith is one of the best-known wine makers in the Barossa Valley and this wine is a more accessible version of his more expensive Shiraz bottling.

CASE PRICE (SIX BOTTLES OF EACH): £197 - SAVING £39.70

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THE CHARDONNAY CASE 

This case includes six each of the following bottles:
Saint Véran Domaine de la Denante Burgundy 2017, France, 13%
Chardonnay Riverview Metz Road, Monterey 2015, USA, 14%

Californian Chardonnay has been taken seriously ever since the Judgement of Paris tasting in 1976, where it was the highest-ranking white wine against the very best White Burgundy. For decades, there was a Californian style that was richer and more full bodied against the elegant and balanced style of the very best White Burgundy, but that has changed. 

This Saint Véran shows the very best characteristics of wines from the Maconnais, just south of the leading white Burgundy vineyards. It has a peach like freshness with some lovely citric flavours that make it exceedingly clean and pure. The Metz Road Chardonnay has more body, but there is nothing over-oaked or buttery about it. Made from a tiny selection from their vineyards near the Monterey Coast south of San Francisco, it is beautifully crafted with a perfect balance of minerality and stone fruit flavours. If this  originated in Burgundy, it would be twice the price.

CASE PRICE (SIX BOTTLES OF EACH): £180 - SAVING £34.50

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Order online or contact Lea & Sandeman directly on 020 7244 0522 and quote “The Week”