Tuesday 13 September 2011

Old World Romanticism & New World Uncorked – Part 1

The Wine School, Uncorked 2 – 10 September 2011

From left to right: Cindy, Kimce, Veronica (teachers pet), Janice, Mandy, Vernon, Andrew and Kirsty 

The Wine Oak loves winning stuff, especially when the prize is awesome! It’s been a long time since I had my amazing winning streak whilst being a diligent student (haha, if I wrote a blog back then, it would have been called The Captain Morgan Oak) and it’s about time I win something besides getting 3 numbers in the national lottery. Do you feel lucky? Yes I do, so I enter a lucky draw to win an International Wine Course for a couple, on The Only Cin’s Blog. It’s a blog by Cindy Taylor and is mostly about her passion for food, cooking and wine, check it out: theonlycin.wordpress.com 
I had a good feeling about entering the lucky draw because I won! Lets hope this is only the beginning of the next winning streak.

The International Wine Course, known as “Uncorked 2,” is presented by Janice Scheckter of The Wine School, which is located in Illovo, Johannesburg. (www.thewineschool.co.za).
The course is twofold, with part 1 focusing on the Old World including France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Germany while part 2 covers the New World including South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.   

Kimcé and I arrive and a welcoming aroma of strong coffee passes through the air as we meet Cindy and Janice who offers us a cup of the irresistible coffee. As the other attendees arrive, the impressive fish tank is admired by all and the big yellow goldfish really do have a desired calming effect.
We start the course off and taste the first wine at about 09:30, but it is 12pm somewhere in the world and I’m pretty sure an aeroplane did fly over a few minutes earlier J, so all is good. Janice definitely keeps all our attention as the course is somewhat laid back, interactive, interesting and not in the format of a boring lecture, unlike some informatics and business management lectures I attended back in the day at varsity, *yawn*.

Teachers Pet ;)

“Old World wine” refers primarily to wine made in Europe and can include other regions of the Mediterranean basin such as North Africa and the Near East, with long histories of winemaking. The phrase is often used in contrast to “New World wine” which refers primarily to wines from the United States, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa to name a few.
Tradition and the role of the terroir, which refers to the aspects of a wine region such as soil, climate, topography and how well the wine communicates the sense of place where it originated, are central to the winemaking process of Old World wines and wines are labelled with the regions name rather than the grape variety, which we are accustomed to as a New World wine producing country. Old World winemakers will often attempt to downplay the role of the winemaker and avoid techniques that may mask or distort the expression of terroir. On the other side of the coin, the New World places more emphasis on science and the role of the winemaker in the winemaking process with techniques used to bring out the fruit flavours of a wine.           

Old World wine regions have developed viticultural techniques and practices adapted around their unique climates and landscapes, which are enshrined in local wine laws and regulations such as the French Appellation d’origine controlee (AOC).
Generally Old World vineyards were planted many years ago in close proximity which is only sufficient for manual pruning and harvesting, unlike Australia for instance where vineyards are planted further apart to adopt the use of mechanical agriculture. 
“There is definitely a sense of romanticism associated with Old World winemaking, which you can not help but admire.”
The result is more tannic and austere wines with more layers of complexity and earthy characteristics that require longer periods of bottle ageing in order to mature. In contrast, New World wines are generally softer and mature earlier with upfront fruit characteristics.

Janice explains the wine laws and different wine regions of France, Italy and Spain and its apparent that the New World follows a much simpler approach by planting varietals as and where they see fit as apposed to the Old World where certain varietals are only allowed to be planted in certain regions.

We try 5 wines and they are different to the New World style which I have become accustomed to, but they are all very good. They are somewhat of an acquired taste which makes it very exciting for me as I get to try something new, different and look forward to learn to appreciate, just like when I initially started drinking wine, whoop whoop! 

Part 2 of the course takes place on the 24th September and I can not wait!...


Cindy said...

It was a great experience and I am also looking forward to the 24th :)

The Wine Oak said...

Yip, especially looking forward to that "Cloudy Bay" :)