The USA is a large country with several different climates, elevations, and soil types. It is difficult to summarise simply because it so vast. However, there are features in wine producing regions that greatly impact wine aroma, flavour, and texture.
Inland vs. Coastal America’s best known wine regions lie along the Pacific coast. Regions close to the ocean are greatly influenced by it, just like in New Zealand. These regions tend to be cooler, with fresh ocean breezes, and morning fog. Their wines feel brighter on the palate with firmer tannins and fresh fruit flavours. Inland areas are warmer, drier, and tend to produce richer wines with tropical fruit notes.
Hills vs. Valleys Elevation has a similar impact. Hillside vineyards tend to be cooler and ripen later than those on the valley floor. This is because of the temperature difference between day and night, which is called a diurnal range. Hillside vineyards have a larger diurnal range than those on the valley floor. So, wines made from the hills have more structure and tarter fruit notes than those from the valley floor, which are rich and plush.
Rain Shadow Grapevines are fussy and need a certain amount of rainfall. Too much and they’ll rot. Too little and they’ll shrivel up. They also need the temperature to be just right. Some regions wouldn’t be able to plant grapevines at all if it weren’t for a rain shadow effect. This is where mountains prevent heavy rain clouds from passing from passing over them, leaving the region on the other side warm and dry. It’s exactly what happens on the West Coast of New Zealand and is also why the Columbia Valley in Washington has such a thriving wine industry.
WINE STYLES OF THE USA
Here are some typical wine styles from the region of the USA.
Rich Oaky Whites
Soft Fruity Reds
KEY VARIETALS OF USA
Zinfandel is known for its splash of jammy flavors. While the wine looks lighter and isn’t as astringent as its other full-bodied counterparts, its full body is made up in acidity and mouthfeel.
Cab Sauvs will often be big, powerful reds with lavishly layered palate often with a touch of cedar wood. When blended it elevates the concentration of flavours and helps add a big finish.
It’s often blended with Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Or with Syrah if you’re in Aussie.
Fresh pear, hazelnut, pineapple and white flower flavours and aromas. Try it with creamy leeks with ham, oysters or a classic risotto Milanese are all excellent pairing choices.
America’s best known wine regions lie along the Pacific coast. Regions close to the ocean are greatly influenced by it, just like in New Zealand. These regions tend to be cooler, with fresh ocean breezes, and morning fog. Their wines feel brighter on the palate with firmer tannins and fresh fruit flavours. Inland areas are warmer, drier, and tend to produce richer wines with tropical fruit notes.
Grape growing dates back to 1807 when Thomas Jefferson tried planting French grapes in Virginia. Inexplicably, his vines kept dying, and he was forced to make wine from North American grape varieties. Nowadays, after prohibition, pests and more, wine is grown in all 50 states, however the states on the West Coast – Washington, Oregon, and California, make up the bulk of the wine industry.
FEATURED USA WINE
Discover the Freakshow Zinfandel with experienced winemaker and advisor Lynnette Hudson.
Freakshow Zinfandel 2019
The Dazzling Fire Mistress pays homage to Freakshow's roots in Lodi, a region known for exceptional Zinfandel. Typically known as a bold varietal, Freakshow Zin shows the softer, sexier side of Lodi Zin, focusing on the distinctive bright fruit and spice characteristics for which our heritage varietal is known.
This medium bodied Zin spotlights wild berry and coffee aromas while flirting with notes of peppery spice. Flavours of black cherry, dark chocolate and sweet tobacco amaze the tongue with a fruit-forward, tantalising finish.