When people talk about wines from the United States, California usually comes first to mind.
A big bold Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, a smooth buttery Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley or a dark jam flavoured Zinfandel from Paso Robles or Dry Creek Valley are certainly signature wines from these regions.
Other appellations like Sonoma, North Coast, Central Coast and Santa Barbara also produce a lot of high quality wines from some very notable vineyards.
On the eastern side of the United States the Finger Lakes area in upper New York State produces some good Rieslings and crisp Chardonnays.
Back on the west coast, Washington and Oregon are also producing some very good wines that are actively competing for market share with California.
Williamette Valley, Walla Walla Valley and Columbia Valley are some of the more well known appellations in Washington state producing wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay with some areas also bottling wines like Pinot Gris and Riesling, which grow very well in Washington’s colder climate.
There’s no question that California still dominates the market when it comes to sheer volume and size of wine being produced.
Washington’s 14 AVAs containing 900 plus vineyards yield somewhere around 270,000 tons of grapes each year, while California’s 4600 plus wineries produce over 3,700,000 tons of grapes each year.
Those figures certainly give California a weighty advantage over their competitors but Washington state has been able to gain respect in the wine world.
Winemakers have been going toe-to-toe with California style wines by producing award winning wines and getting accolades from wine reviewers all over the world.
I don’t normally review two wines from the same vineyard but I thought these wines best exemplified the style of Washington wines being delivered to wine lovers.
This article first appeared in the April issue of Hometown News.