The USA is the fourth largest wine producer in the world with 50 states having at least 1 winery in. The west coast of California, Oregon and Washington state account for 90% of all wines, but in addition to these states, New York and Virginia also play a significant role in the wine industry. The vast range of wines coming out of the States is subsequently huge!
There are over 1000 wineries across the state of California, over 400 of which are in the world famous Napa Valley, which makes it clear to see why it is considered to be the top wine region in the United States and why it has become one of the most famous wine regions world wide. Napa Valley is known for its world class Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. A fantastic example of an excellent Californian Merlot from Napa Valley which we stock here at Cheers is the Clos du Val Estate Napa Merlot.
Sonoma, which is also within the state of California and running adjacent to Napa Valley is considered to be one of the worlds most diverse wine regions, known for its Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay. Sonoma county is fortunate to have a wide variety of different terrain and climate within its wine growing regions, it has mountains, over 50 miles of Pacific coastline and sun-kissed valleys, all of which make for a variety of fantastic wine. A great example of what you can expect from a Californian Pinot Noir is the Cartlidge & Brown Pinot Noir which is available on our website.
Livermore Valley is considered to be California's oldest wine region, with the first grapes being planted in 1797! The area is known for its premium Californian wines, made using Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and more recently Chardonnay. A beautifully oaky example of a Livermore Chardonnay is the Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay.
Cabernet Sauvignon is considered to be the worlds most popular red wine grape, it is loved world wide for its intensity and age worthiness.
The predominant flavours in this type of grape are spices,cedar, blackcurrant and cherry, although this all depends on the conditions in which the grapes are grown. From a Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon, you can expect ripe blackcurrant, black cherry and hints of liquorice.
You can expect a great depth of flavour from a cabernet sauvignon, revealing layers which change and develop throughout the tasting of the wine. The initial flavour may be fruity, which in a good quality cabernet sauvignon may then lead to a taste that is more minerally, such as graphite for example, or floral hints, then finishing with notes such as tobacco or cedar.
Chardonnay is the most widely planted grape variety world wide and it claims more ground than any other grape in the USA. It is also a major grape used in champagne and sparkling wine.
From a Californian Chardonnay you can generally expect a full-bodied wine with tropical fruit flavours, such as pineapple and mango layered with citrus notes. This often gives way to hints of butter, caramel and varying degrees of oak.
Another popular grape variety in California is Zinfandel, it is a black and blue skinned grape that is incredibly popular in the US. Zinfandel is lighter in colour than cabernet sauvignon with a higher alcohol content, ranging from 14%-17%, this tends to give the wine a bolder body with big flavours. The combination of the lighter wine, coupled with a high alcohol content, makes zinfandel feel medium bodied on the palate.
Cabernet Franc is a widely used grape worldwide, largely known for its blending with cabernet sauvignon and merlot in the classic Bordeaux style. Cabernet Franc is lighter than cabernet sauvignon or merlot, which makes for a vibrant pale red wine. Cabernet Franc in warmer climates will deliver flavours of dried fruit and strawberries, as opposed to those grapes grown in cooler climates which will make for tarter wines with higher acidity.