The story appears on

Page B11

November 29, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Feature » iDEAL

Fun to match old and new world styles

WHEN addressing wine professionals and enthusiasts around the world, I am fond of saying that ultimately we are in the business of creating memories. It's not enough to have everyone enjoy the wine and food and then a mere two weeks later forget what they drank.

Creating memories necessitates using wines to tell an interesting story that facilitates memory.

Battle of Worlds

One of my favorite themes is the battle of the worlds, the Old World (Europe and the Near and Middle East) that has been making wines for thousands of years versus the New World (the US, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand ...) that has come a long way in just a few centuries.

This is also a great theme for a fun wine dinner at home with six or more friends.

Basic Rules

In an Old versus New dinner, the wines are served side-by-side; in wine talk this means you enjoy both wines at the same time. For example, a Chardonnay from Burgundy versus a Napa Valley Chardonnay are tasted next to each other.

You may choose to serve one a few minutes before the other but there should be some time reserved to enjoy the wines together. This allows you to more accurately distinguish the differences.

You should also serve wines of relatively the same price point or quality level to keep the competition fair and fun.

It makes no sense to serve a Grand Cru Burgundy white against an entry level California Chardonnay. Each individual side-by-side wine tasting can accompany a different dish that appropriately highlights that specific variety or wine style.

Basic information on each of the wines should be prepared. This may include region, variety, producer and vintage as well as some basic tasting notes. Giving guests more information will stimulate livelier discussion and debate.

It's also fun to create a competitive atmosphere by having each person introduce a wine then have everyone vote on the winner.

You'll be surprised how "good-heartedly" heated these discussions can get as people take sides and show preferences.

Picking the Wines

First, you must decide the styles of wines to serve and get the sequence correct. In general, start with lighter wines then evolve toward the heavier and more complex. For example, an Old World sparkling wine like a CAVA from Spain versus a New World sparkling wine is a great way to get things rocking.

Then perhaps an elegant 100 percent Sauvignon Blanc Sancerre white wine from the Loire Valley versus an exciting New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough.

Next, a substantial Burgundian white and a classic Napa Chardonnay will move things to new heights.

Start the red wine competition with lighter reds like a young Pinot Noir or Sangiovese, then move on to more substantial Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah/Shiraz wines. Two sweet wines are ideal for finishing but on occasion I have cheated a bit and ended the evening by serving a Scotch whisky versus a Bourbon.

An evening like this is an educational and intriguing journey of the taste buds as the various grapes, regions and guests reveal their true characters.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend