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American Wine

Wine has been made in the North America since early French settlers discovered vines growing across the land. However early experiments were unsuccessful as the native vines (mostly vitis labrusca) although sweet nevertheless imparted an unpleasant taste that has been described as “feral” or “foxy”. Americans then attempted to grow European vines (vitis vinifera) for the purpose of making fine wine but this too was unsuccessful as the phylloxera louse thrived in the soils and killed the roots. The immunity of the native vines was to become important to the development of the wine industry not only in the USA but across the world as it was discovered that grafting European grape vines onto native American rootstock had the dual benefit of giving resistance to phylloxera together with the superior flavours of European wine grapes.

view of tablas creek vineyard, californiaThe burgeoning wine industry in the USA suffered another setback with the enforcement of Prohibition. Much of the area under vine was replanted with table grapes with only a small amount of communion wine enduring. It wasn't until after the Second World War that things took a turn for the better, with wine pioneers such as Robert Mondavi making great strides in the quality stakes, so much so that today the USA has become not only the single biggest market for wine in the world but also the fourth biggest producer. A.V.As. (American Viticultural Areas) enshrine the better wine-producing regions and the US is capable of producing some very fine wines with 90% of its production being located in California, particularly in the Napa Valley, Sonoma and surrounding North Coast areas where Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay to name but two varieties make highly sought-after wines but good wine is also made further south in the Central Coast area all the way down to Santa Barbara county. The cooling effect of the Pacific Ocean is very beneficial in areas near to the coast with the rising hot air currents inland drawing in banks of fog from the sea up into the valley vineyards all summer resulting in long growing seasons and grapes packed with flavour due to their longer ripening period .

Very good wines are also being made in Oregon, famous for its somewhat Burgundian Pinot Noir red wines since the 1970s and also in Washington State where Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot and Riesling do well in what has become the USA's second largest producer after California. The New England area in the north east of the country is also a source of fine wines. A stunning fact is that there are vineyards and wineries in every single state that at least satisfy local demand for their wines and many do rather more than that. In addition to a profusion of medium sized as well as boutique wineries are the huge wine conglomerates such as E & J Gallo which makes a quarter of all American wine and is the second biggest producer in the world.

  1. Opus One, Napa Valley, Mondavi, 1980

    Opus One, Napa Valley, Mondavi, 1980

    Opus One was a joint enterprise between Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild combining in a new venture in California's Napa Valley. It was produced from the traditional Bordeaux grape varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot with the first mentioned variety being predominant.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country USA

    £125.00

    Out of stock

  2. Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Napa Valley, 1997

    Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Napa Valley, 1997

    Robert Mondavi was one of the pioneers of the resurgent California wine industry in the mid 1960s and could be said to be responsible for making the Napa Valley known for wines of outstanding quality.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Cabernet Sauvignon
    Country USA

    Out of stock

  3. Sutter Home Zinfandel, California, 1973

    Sutter Home Zinfandel, California, 1973

    Sutter Home is one of the leading Californian producers of Zinfandel wines.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Zinfandel
    Country USA

    £45.99

    Out of stock

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