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Confessions of a New-World-wine lover


Fat Guy
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I must confess, I love big, obnoxious, fruit-bomb, New-World wines. There, it's on the record.

Give me a glass of Opus any day and I'm happier than with some subtle French thing.

In this preference, I know I'm not alone -- wines like the ones I like are really dominant in the marketplace -- yet my tastes are anathema to most of the serious wine people I know. They bemoan the New-World style.

Not me. I love what the Aussies are doing, I love gigantic California cabernets, I'm glad Italy is modernizing. Forgive me.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Mentioned to my husband your thoughts on New World wines, he was happy to hear that someone agrees with him, he LOVES California Big reds, he swears he can smell cabs by just thinking about them! Clos Du Bois cab, Rodney Strong, etc., so imagine how delighted he was when we were dining overseas and actually saw a Clos du Bois from California on the wine menu!

We belong to a few wine clubs, just so we can relive our times while living among the wonderful wineries of California...oh to be back there! In his words following the sign he once read: "life is too short to drink bad wine". Or in his case, wine that isn't BOLD enough!

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Steven (aka F. Guy),

While I will never join you in your passion for fruit bombs I am glad YOU like them and therefore leaving more of the more elegant, even austere 'old' world wines (and their old world style 'new' world friends for me to enjoy!! Thank you for that!!

I have enjoyed several heavy duty Zins (I still can't really hack over-the-top oaked Chards and for some reason my palate does not appreciate Cab Sauvignon that much - something about black currants I think) but for the most part I can't for the life of me imagine what I would eat with them. Wine for me is so wrapped up in how it combines with the food I eat that it is difficult for me to enjoy wines that are virtually a meal in bottle. BBQ with sweet glaze/sauce and Zin surely works but what do you eat with all these massive fruit-driven alcholic wines?

On the other hand, there are some lovely 'new' world wines that are not over-oaked fruit cake. Oregon (and some CA) Pinots (as well as those from BC and Ontario for that matter), wonderful crisp Rieslings even other cool climate reds. Frankly too many wines and not nearly enough time (as hard as I try to try them all!)

Llyn Strelau

Calgary, Alberta

Canada

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:biggrin:

Don't think you've done anything that needs forgiving, Maestro. Wine, for me, is driven by food and mood, more or less (but not always!) in that order. If what I'm eating indicates it -- say, a nicely grilled steak or a deep-flavored beef stew -- the first beverage I'm going to open is going to be a big honkin' red. It might be one of those Zins mgaretz likes, it might be one of the newer high-alcohol Cabs, it might be a more polite Montepulciano.

I might wonder about your tastebuds if you wanted a glass of some huge, hulking Chilean red with a dainty cream-sauced bonne-femme sole preparation, but that's not what you're describing, I don't think.

Go in peace; Bacchus loves you. And the next time I'm in NYC, perhaps we can open a fruit bomb together (or even set up a tasting).

:biggrin:

Me, I vote for the joyride every time.

-- 2/19/2004

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I've noticed that many people who primarily like big fruit bombs tend not to think of wine as something that goes hand in hand with food. I started moonlighting doing wine tastings a couple of years ago, so I've had the opportunity to have a lot of wine on my hands. Once I started drinking wine almost every day and pretty much always with food, I started drinking Old World wines with the acidity or tannins to complement what I was eating. Before that, I didn't drink very much Old World wine, but now I don't drink very much New World at all. Even when I think of a big fat steak, I want something with some tannins to cut the richness and refresh my palate. Though of course it has to have some power to it to match the steak, so I like Nebbiolo for instance (from Langhe usually, but if I'm lucky enough to have Barolo there's nothing I want more).

So do you drink your wines with food more, or just drink them over conversation or listening to music (typically a cocktail fits the bill there for me)? And how does that effect how you relate to Old versus New world wines?

nunc est bibendum...

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I almost never drink wine without food. And I agree that for very subtle or complex food a less aggressive wine fits the bill. But for most of the food I eat, that's not the situation. For a lot of my meals I'm eating mostly raw ingredients -- cheeses, cured meats, etc. -- and for a lot of other meals it's grilled or roasted (or braised) meats. I recently had a hamburger with a bottle of Rosemount Syrah McLaren Vale Balmoral and I was in heaven.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Alcuin,

You make a very good point, about wine and food. But.. I don't always like wine with food.. Here sipping during the day .. I can stand a bit more tannin and acidity.

Cheers

Paully

Its good to have Morels

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I love what the Aussies are doing, I love gigantic California cabernets, I'm glad Italy is modernizing. Forgive me.

Nothing to forgive-- you've got it right. I like the Rodney Strong Cab that someone mentioned (it's currently my wife's favorite), and also good Petite Sirahs and Zins. Recently I opened a bottle of 2008 Line 39 Petite Sirah and found it very much to my liking-- intense, good fruit, some oak, and nicely balanced (important since it's 14.5%). And also much to my liking, it was 9.99. (Last year we had some of the 2007 vintage, and I think it was even better, although a dollar or two more expensive.)

Lots of good bottles out of Australia and South America, full of flavor and reasonably priced. Also quite a few good ones from Washington.

Dick in Northbrook, IL

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  • 2 weeks later...

I rarely go for big New World wines, except for an occasional glass sipped by the fireplace. Even with a steak, the "biggest" I'll go is a well-crafted Super Tuscan. I think the liking of big vs subtle is an aqcuired taste; people are either in the New World camp or Old World camp and it's difficult to easily transition from one to the other.

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I didn't realize liking something required confession. Hmm.

I for one share the love of New World wines, but can also appreciate nuance and subtlety from the Old World. I tend to lean towards reds from the NW, whites, bubbly and sweet wines from the OW.

There are exceptions of course, as I agree that Italian food (pasta, cheese, red sauce) tends to go really well with Sangiovese, though I'm not opposed to a good Primitivo.

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I drink wine with or without food, although some wines clearly complement food better than others.

But it's too facile to lump wines into new world v old world as though one type is all big, juicy & alcoholic whilst the other is stylish, refined, subtle etc. Absolute BS.

There's a great deal of intellectual arrogance in the "I can only appreciate fine French wines" attitude. I've had some great French, Italian & Spanish wines but I've had a fair amount of rubbish too.

Try some cheap Claret (Bordeaux) and you'll find it's not fit for drinking with anything. Then try a New Zealand Pinot Noir from Otago instead of a Burgundy and you might be pleasantly surprised. The Carmenere grape, sadly now lost to France but strong in Chile, can produce excellent drinking both with & without food.

My favourite white grapes, Viognier & Gewürztraminer,produce similar delicious wines in both Europe & Australia/New Zealand.

And where would a Chateau Musar from Lebanon fit in to this wine snobbery?

So, no you don't need to apologise at all for being able to appreciate fantastic wines from all around the world.

It's been a long time since I've had a bottle of Penfold's Grange but I seem to recall that - for a New World Wine- it wasn't too bad.

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In the 1980s and 1990s I was a big huge red wine drinker. William Hill (affectionately called Bill Hill) was a fave--have no idea what it's like now, but it was massive. Big Zin drinker for decades, too, always. Now...not so much. Malbecs either. I've gone back to France and some softer US cab savs, occasional OR Pinot Noir. And I've been back to (unfortunately expensive) French Chablis for a long time now. Just don't like American chards anymore.

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I drink wine with or without food, although some wines clearly complement food better than others.

But it's too facile to lump wines into new world v old world as though one type is all big, juicy & alcoholic whilst the other is stylish, refined, subtle etc. Absolute BS.

There's a great deal of intellectual arrogance in the "I can only appreciate fine French wines" attitude. I've had some great French, Italian & Spanish wines but I've had a fair amount of rubbish too.

Try some cheap Claret (Bordeaux) and you'll find it's not fit for drinking with anything. Then try a New Zealand Pinot Noir from Otago instead of a Burgundy and you might be pleasantly surprised. The Carmenere grape, sadly now lost to France but strong in Chile, can produce excellent drinking both with & without food.

My favourite white grapes, Viognier & Gewürztraminer,produce similar delicious wines in both Europe & Australia/New Zealand.

And where would a Chateau Musar from Lebanon fit in to this wine snobbery?

So, no you don't need to apologise at all for being able to appreciate fantastic wines from all around the world.

It's been a long time since I've had a bottle of Penfold's Grange but I seem to recall that - for a New World Wine- it wasn't too bad.

Absolutely true, but for clarification, I (and assume the others) was talking about Old vs New World style. Sure there are wines being made in CA in the old world style, and wines in Italy made in a new world style. And the lines are getting fuzzy, whcih may or may not be a good thing.

And I don't think anyone was dissin' new world (except maybe for the presumptions in Fat Guy's orignal post); it's just a matter of preference and what one is use to drinking.

I love Chateau Musar; I would consider this to be old world in style, that is, not greatly extracted, fruit-forward and/or having a prominant oak element.

Edited by angevin (log)
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  • 4 weeks later...

I like to drink around the world...not be stuck on one style of wine... 25,000 styles/labels of great wines that I know of and counting 10,000 kinds of grapes... to be stuck with one style would be as if I was anesthetized... not to say you are wrong... if you are happy that's all that really matters... but for myself give me styles and let me sip the ends of the globe looking for them...coy , bold, elusive, etc...

Cheers !!!

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I must confess, I love big, obnoxious, fruit-bomb, New-World wines. There, it's on the record.

Give me a glass of Opus any day and I'm happier than with some subtle French thing.

In this preference, I know I'm not alone -- wines like the ones I like are really dominant in the marketplace -- yet my tastes are anathema to most of the serious wine people I know. They bemoan the New-World style.

Not me. I love what the Aussies are doing, I love gigantic California cabernets, I'm glad Italy is modernizing. Forgive me.

I very much agree, but mostly for drinking alone, just enjoying the wine. I often find these wines too big to enjoy with food.

"Life itself is the proper binge" Julia Child

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