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Thursday, 14 May 2009

Food and Wine









New World Vs Old World


By Don Merlot,
Junto Staff Writer



On my first trip outside of the USA in the late 60's, I see now that I was riding the crest of a wave of the new Pax Americanus. I know my political science and history professors hated that term, but now I see what it meant and how the Old World became "Old" and the New World became "New..

United States Americans adopted the term Americans, and they are recognized by Europe, Africa ,and Asia as such. Canadian are fine being Canadian, they do not want to be Americans, and Spanish Latin Americans including the Brazilians, non-Spanish Caribbean and other European territorial possessions think of themselves as the new World Americans -- but are not Americans.




Just when did the New World create the' New World' of food and wine? Was it when those clever Americans who sold fast food on the street: hot dogs and hamburgers on carts and later served in the American drug store counter menus just after World War II? Certainly no wine was sold then. Or was it those Spanish missionaries who went to Nueva España and South America and Chile in the16th Century; they brought those sacramental wines and introduced pork, beef and chicken into the Creole diets? The Roman Catholic Church ate well and drank well; and maybe the Spanish Creole parishioners did too.




Today it is a matter of nationalism who has the best foods, and not wine and food history that gets credit . It all started when "the American Colonist " vinefied wine, brewed beer and distilled eau de vie, and changed the old world habits and introducing food recipes of the new land. On the wine side, there is no question that California, Oregon and Washington have surpassed the Bordeaux and Burgundy expertise in both white and red wines. But the new world includes Australia and New Zealand and South Africa and they too have joined the ranks of superior wines. Chile and Argentina are knocking on the door.


Although American New Englanders get their taste from the early thirteen colonies, the rest of the U.S. states as they came together have some excellent New World menus. In the rest of the Americas starting with New Spain, which as we know is Mexico today, the cuisines are a mixture of native, Spanish Creole, and old classical Europe . It started and spread all over the Caribbean, Central America and all of South America . The best is yet to come.


We learn that the vinous viniferous came from Europe and east of there, and no American Grape is a vinous vinifera. We are talking about the grape that makes the old world classical wine. The old world owns that formula. And we know that our forefathers learned about the old tradition of making wine and did not succeed at first. Thomas Jefferson tried hard to duplicate his favorite French Bordeaux and Burgundies. California made wine for the Spanish missions, as did they in the southern provinces which are now Argentina and Chile .


So it was in France that the Golden Age of European wine hit its Zenith. During the Bourbon period leading up to the revolution, unlike today's period, no one had access to the vineyard marketing plans. The French wine were totally product driven. Bordeaux in the Southwest had the Cabernet Sauvignon as the longest ager and it was blended with other Bordeaux varieties: The vintners blended their wine for balance with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot. In Burgundy is on the east of France and the northern Chablis and Cote d'Or that only Pinot Noir and Chardonnay could be grown by decree of the Burundian Dukes and could not be blended (with other varieties).


The prize oenological term on what was best planting whether on what latitude, or what soil or what side of the river developed, or closer to the cool winds of the ocean – Terroir was born. This term became the pride of the vintner and the connoisseur.


In the Classical Old World period, what was the best wine was a matter of debate. The best story I know is –

Brillat-Savarin in his La Phyiologue du goût[1]


The magistrate, asked whether he preferred claret or Burgundy, answered: 'This is a case, Madam, in which it is so pleasant to examine the evidence that I always reserve my judgment for another week.'



Today the New World wines compete in a global market and have a plethora of flavors and it no longer is restricted to the European culture solely. The Cabernet Sauvignon is grown in California , Washington , Chile , Argentina , South Africa , and Australia . Pinot Noir excels in California , Oregon , New Zealand , These two old world rivals when pitted in the pyramid of flavors and cultural thresholds compete on a whole new plain.


Oenologists driven by the University of California (DAVIS) have dissected the two varieties: and in today's parlance the king of wines is the Cabernet Sauvignon. The Cab has Tannin to age it and make it silky; the Cab has a thick skin to allow it to get from summer to winter without harm.


The highly trained chefs of today touts that best match "made in heaven" are Lamb and cabernet sauvignon. No nationalism here. Find a good bottle and good lamb. Serve the wine at room temperature. If the bottle is young open it an hour before dinner and keep until serving in a dark room.


If you have a special event coming up get yourself your favorite lamb recipe and a good $15 (or more) bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon.


Keep in mind that wine's primary focus is to be matched with food. The mix of lamb and wine not only has tradition, it makes sense. There are five glasses of wine in each bottle.


(Don Merlot is pseudonym for Florida writer Ron Alonzo).

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