READING BETWEEN THE WINES:
Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.
— Benjamin Franklin
American wines are some of the hottest, most trend-setting wines in the bottle. Like everything American, the U.S. has taken a huge melting pot of European grape varietals and given them a taste of terroir Américain.
The main reason these “New World” (not European) wines can compete against centuries of “Old World” (European) refinement is through education and technology.
MAJOR AMERICAN WINE REGIONS
There are several wine regions in the U.S., each with their own flavor and style of wine. A few of the major wine-producing regions are:
New York Wine
THE POPULAR GRAPES
The top grapes used to make American wine are as follows:
|Cabernet Sauvignon||Chenin blanc|
|Pinot noir||Pinot Gris|
HOW TO ORDER/BUY
In the U.S., the label contains everything you need to know — from the grape varietal and vintage date to the origin and producer.
Just keep in mind:
• Wine appreciation is acquired. If the Cabernet Sauvignon you choose is too heavy or tannic, start with something lighter and smoother like a Merlot or Pinot Noir. Same goes for whites. Chardonnays are more complex while Chenin Blancs are lighter and sweeter.
• Tell your server or local wine seller what tastes and flavors you prefer in a wine and take suggestions. They’re trained to recognize and offer wines that suit different tastes.
• When in doubt, buy local. Odds are your wine shop or restaurant will have the better selection in local wines than those of say, European or Australian origination.
TIPS FOR BEGINNERS
Here are a few great ways of learning about your tastes in wines:
• Join a wine club. You’ll receive a variety of wines by mail, selected by price or style, on a regular basis.
• Start a monthly wine club of your own. Rotate houses with your friends, and have a few people bring their favorite bottle to share at each event. Add an assortment of cheeses into the mix, and you’ll really have some tasty parties.
• Choose a flight of wine with your next meal, available at many trendy restaurants. Restaurateurs usually pair amazing wines with each course, so you can experience wine at its best!
• And of course, go wine tasting! Your local wine country is the best place to start.
LEGAL QUALITY CODES
The U.S. has strict controls on their wines, regulated by specific laws to ensure origin, authenticity, and style. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) strictly controls wine labels with regard to:
o varietal name
o type designation
o appellation of origin
o American Viticulture Areas (AVAs)
o alternative varietal names permitted for temporary use
o alcohol content