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The USA beyond California

by | Jul 20, 2022 | Richmond Wine Society, Teddington Wine Society

Richmond and Teddington Wine Societies enjoyed evenings, some in person, some via Zoom, of wines from the USA.  The purpose was to explore the diversity of styles and quality of the major areas outside California.

Washington State is the second largest producer of wine after California, and produces wines across the spectrum of prices (though starting prices in the States are not low).  The Eight Thousand Lakes Riesling was a lovely example of the purity of fruit that comes from this sunny climate,as did the Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon wines from Chateau Ste Michelle.  The latter estate pioneered wine production in the state, focussing on quality from the start, and this showed clearly in the wines.

From the eastern side of the country we explored the Finger Lakes region of New York State, specifically the Forge Cellars estate in Seneca Lake.  Their 2017 Riesling showed greater complexity and evolution, while the Pinot Noir Classique (also 2017) was probably the most challenging wine of the evening – a spontaneous fermentation with indigenous yeasts revealed some different aspects to this well known grape variety.  Some loved it, some less so.

Oregon, which though smaller than Washington State in production volumes, is probably better known in the UK.  It is best known for its Burgundian grape varieties, and the Seven Springs Chardonnay demonstrated some very Burgundian characteristics.  The Dundee Hills Pinot Noir, from Domaine Drouhin (a Burgundian producer who has set up one of the leading Oregon wineries) offered some classic New World Pinot characteristics – strawberry fruit with a hint of farmyard, and lovely restrained oak.

Our tasting revealed the aptitude of some very well known varietals to adapt to different terroirs and under the guidance of skilled winemakers to express themselves very differently to their European counterparts.  These are regions we should explore regularly and I am sure wines from them will feature in our future tastings.

Full details are on the Wines we have tasted page.

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“Throughout the 17 years I have attended Tim’s wine tasting events, he has continued to deliver his extensive knowledge of wine and wine-making with great charm, and lots of humour, making the evenings not only informative, but also great fun. In the course of an average year, the tastings cover a kaleidoscope of different wine themes – interesting and entertaining for all, novices and experts alike. And the wines taste pretty good too!”

“We have been going to Teddington Wine Society events for a number of years. Tim runs the evenings with bonhomie and humour and wears his considerable knowledge lightly. The evenings are great fun, the wines are always a little bit different and help to expand knowledge and tasting horizons.”

“I have attended the Richmond Wine society for over ten years and always enjoyed Tim’s self-effacing style and gentle humour. His knowledge is globally eclectic and presented in a clear, interesting and always stimulating way. Every guest I have taken there has enjoyed the evening immensely. Tim also offers a wide range of wines to buy and my red cellar has provided great pleasure to my own dinner guests.”

“I’ve been enjoying Tim’s tastings for over 20 years – he is a great teacher, raconteur and wine expert. He is seriously passionate about his wine, but there is nothing serious about his tastings, which are always informal and relaxed. A lovely way to spend an evening and enjoy some fantastic wines.”

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