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.