Seasonal transitions are always a good moment to take stock. Over the past few weeks, with the ‘back to school/work buzz’ palpable, the Decanter team has been looking at the multiple notes pilling up from summer and early autumn tastings in anticipation of a busy couple of months ahead. We had the pleasure of discovering new producers and wines and also revisit some favourites, confirming the great job they are doing year-on-year.
Exciting winemaking communities, east and west
There are always regions, styles and producers that somehow stand out, either individually or within a wider context. A theme that seemed to repeat itself is the increasing availability of American wines, across price points and styles, against the backdrop of exciting winemaking communities pushing boundaries in their respective regions.
That’s certainly true of the Finger Lakes, in New York State, and Santa Rita Hills, in Santa Barbara, California, hotspots of refined, terroir-driven winemaking. You’ll find a few examples below, worth buying, drinking and in some cases cellaring. The Joy Fantastic Pinot Noir and Osmote’s Chardonnay could be even more delicious in a few years. If you can resist until then… You can also taste The Joy Fantastic next to Red Newt’s Pinot to get a sense of how well the fussy grape fares on both coasts.
Something old and something new
Did you know there are plantings of Albariño in the Hudson River Valley? We did but hadn’t yet tasted it. When we finally got hold of Fjord Vineyard’s we were surprised by its character, gastronomic appeal and straightforward deliciousness.
It’s always worth revisiting classics and Hedges Family Estate’s old-vine Bel’Vitta Syrah may well fall in that category – an expression of a grape and producer synonym with the Red Mountain. The 2015 is drinking beautifully and is certainly good value for what it delivers.
Value to be found
Speaking of value, who says you need to break the bank to get a proper USA bottle? Chateau Ste Michele’s Dry Riesling and Power’s Cabernet Sauvignon are more than proper and go for less than £15. And the Tendu Cortese from Matthiasson is a joy of value and convenience inside its one-litre bottle, deserving a place at your dinner party table.
There’s much to discover in this short, but not modest, selection of North American wines, some more experimental, others more classic, all unpretentiously honest about what they are and can deliver.
A selection of 10 USA wines to try:
Wines shown in score order.