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SAY CHEERS!

An Evening Dedicated to Wines of the U.S West Coast

One of the joys of being a wine journalist or writer is to be able to taste wines which may not be accessible to the regular wine drinkers. Therefore when the rare opportunity to taste some of the U.S West Coast wines came along, all roads led to ITC Grand Central Parel, Mumbai. The event organised by the American Consulate in Mumbai’s United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the tasting conducted by the Wine Ambassador of ITC Hotels, Sonal Holland was as an exclusive evening dedicated to just wines of the U.S West Coast. The event was also attended by Adam Branson, Senior Agricultural Attache, USDA and Melina Gomes, Deputy Media Advisor, U.S. Consulate General. 

L to R: With Adam Branson, Sonal Holland and Melina Gomes.

L to R: With Adam Branson, Sonal Holland and Melina Gomes.

The Journey

The journey of the American wine industry is interesting, mitigating and exemplary for the new world wine producing countries.

The first vine (European) was planted in the US soil during 1700s in the East Coast. That failed measurably only to be re-attempted a century later. The first successful wine production in the west coast (California) was in 1860. After becoming a victim of the notorious phylloxera that damaged most of the vineyards across continents in 1890s and the liquor prohibition in US between 1920-1933, wine production again kick-started in 1933. This was the time when the central valley produced sweet, fortified wines from indigenous grape varieties such as Clarets and Chablis. It was only after 1960s that Napa Valley started gaining popularity as a quality wine-producing region in the country with varietal labeling in practice.

But in 1976 a miracle happened. The legendary event that is known to every wine professional in the world, Judgment of Paris, changed the fate of the American wine industry forever. After that historic occurrence California emerged as one of the most promising wine producing regions in the world.

(To know more about ‘Judgment of Paris visit this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judgment_of_Paris_(wine)) or watch the movie Bottle Shock. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0914797/

 The same year Bureau of Alcohol Firearms and Tobacco Trade (BAFTA) introduced the concept of American Viticulture Areas (AVA), which was the first step towards designing appellation system for the American wine producers to acknowledge wines coming from a special geographical area.

Since 1980s, with the growth of Gallo wines many more iconic names have joined the cult wines status. At present US is the 4th largest wine producer in the world with 62% of its wines coming from its top producers such as E&J Gallo, The Wine Company, Constellation and Jackson Family wines.

The region

Wine map of US

United States has four prominent wine estates, Washington, Oregon, New York and California. The most renowned, California region produces 95% of the total wine production in US. Benefited mostly of its geographical locations-closer coastline, warm days and cold nights. California is known for its Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc (Fume Blanc) in whites and Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel (indigenous grape variety) and Syrah in black grapes. North Coast region consists of Sonoma County, Napa County and Mendocino County. While the Napa County is divided in two parts Napa valley and Carneros, these two regions have a reputation of producing quality Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir and chardonnay. Sonoma County is divided into three parts, Alexander Valley (Cabernet Sauvignon), Dry Creek Valley (Zinfandel) and Russian River Valley (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, sparkling wines).

Central Coast mainly consists of Monterey County (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir), San Luis Obispa County (Paso Robles, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah) and Santa Barbara County famous for Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir.

Central Valley region is know for Lodi which is house to some high volume and big brands such as Gallo, Woodbridge and Sutter Home. The region produces almost all international varieties and Zinfandel.

Pacific North West has Washington State and Oregon State. Columbia Valley and Yakima Valley in Washington State are known for Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Oregon’s Willamette Valley produces quality Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.

Tasting

Here is a list of wines tasted at the event.

NAME                                              COMPANY/REGION                             IMPORTER

Honig Sauvignon Blanc (2012) Rutherford, Napa Valley                           Wine Park

Patz & Hall Chardonnay (2011)              Sonoma Coast                               Wine Park

Kendall Jackson Vintners

Reserve Pinot Noir                         Mendocino County                                 Brindco

Kendall Jackson Vintners

Reserve Zinfandel                          Mendocino County                                 Brindco

Erath Pinot Gris        Ste Michelle Wine Estates, Oregon state               Brindco

Columbia Crest Two Vines Merlot   Washington States                           Brindco

IMG_3461

 

About Rojita Tiwari

Drinks & Destinations is all about news, views, podcast, and stories from the world of drinks, travel, and hospitality…served just the way you like it. Rojita Tiwari is an independent writer, trainer, and consultant in the fields of wine & spirits, travel & hospitality. She is a WSET Level 3 certified professional and listed twice (2013 and 2015) as one of the TOP TEN WOMEN OF WINE IN INDIA by the Indian Wine Academy. With 14 years of experience of working for several publications including a decade-long experience of heading the editorial of a leading alco bev magazine, now she is mostly busy- tasting, traveling, writing, training and educating people about the wonderful world of wine & spirits. She also hosts India's first podcast on drinks and travel - The Drinks & Destinations Podcast. Tweet @rojitatiwari or connect with her on drinksanddestinations@gmail.com Cheers & Happy Reading!

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