A Word from our stores

Teaching old grapes new tricks

October 6th 2020

So, we all know that “old world” refers to the birthplace of wine and the stoic countries of wine production such as France, Italy, Spain and that “new world” refers to the countries such as America, Australia and New Zealand that began cultivating wine as we explored new territories. And well if you didn’t, you do now. Well, this month we are exploring the new world at Winerack, and we thought what better way to start off than by exploring the old world grapes that are really rocking in the new world countries.

In at number one is going to be a shock to most of you and that is Primitivo. Primitivo? I hear you say, where is that grown in the new world. Well, actually it’s known by another name that you will definitely know. Zinfandel! Such has been the success of Californians producing Zinfandel, the southern Italian homeland of this grape are even experimenting by using American oak barrels to age their Primitivo.

Number two was undoubtedly a shock to a number of us, and that is the South American superstar Malbec. Dating back to the mind 189th century when a governor in Argentina hired a French agronomist (a bloke who specialises in crops) to bring back clippings from his homeland. Mr Pouget brought back Malbec amongst others, and this grape flourished in the Mendoza region.

Number three, less of a surprise, is Sauvignon Blanc, born in the Loire Valley, but went travelling to New Zealand and was never the same afterwards. Sort of like the backpacker of grapes. This revolutionary trip is another one that is changing the way old world producers are working with this grape.

Number four is Cabernet Sauvignon. This powerhouse grape of the wine world isn’t the only reason for creating some of the old world most fantastic and eye wateringly expensive Bordeaux wines, but took a jump across the water and set up in a little valley called Napa in California and did the same there.

Number five is Syrah. Another French classic that took a trip down under, this time was representing the red camp. Originally from the Rhône region of France, Australian settlers took vines with them in the 1830s and well the rest is history. Who doesn’t like a jammy Ozzy Shiraz?

And finally, in at number six, my personal favourite, Pinot Noir. This grape is overlooked by many I feel, but it’s made its mark worldwide and certainly entered a spot with the other more widely known grapes above. Hailing from the Burgundy region of France, this grape is doing lots of special things in South Africa, perfectly suited to the region with its cooler coastal climate mixed with the warm air inland, if you can, grab the next South African Pinot you see.