Wines from the Americas
In volume terms, the USA is really only one region, and the rest don't amount to much more than a hill of beans, as John Wayne used to say. California is that one region, with its rich subdivisions and many differing climates. It produces 98 percent of all the wine made in the USA and knows exactly how to sell and market itself.
About Wine In The USA
And, as with most things American, there's a certain amount of gloss and glitz that needs to be wiped aside before you can tell what's really underneath.
About the only significant place other than California where wine is produced in the States is in the Pacific Northwest, which comprises Washington and Oregon states. The latter is best known for its work with Pinot and Chardonnay, while Washington has been doing some fantastic stuff with Cabernet and some very interesting Rieslings, and also producing some stunning, world-class Syrahs. Sadly, though, by the time they make their way over here, the price has usually shot through the roof, making them a specialist wine for the dedicated (and probably slightly overpaid) enthusiast.
Major white grape varieties: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc.
Major red grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir.
Key areas to watch: California: Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley, Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley, Los Carneros; Washington state: Columbia Valley, Walla Walla; Oregon: Willamette Valley.
Names to look out for: California: Arrowood, Au Bon Climat, Beringer, Cain, Caymus, Dalla Valle, Diamond Creek, Domaine Chandon, Fetzer Bonterra, Gallo Estate, Kistler, Robert Mondavi, Nalle, Rochioli; Washington state: L'Ecole No.41, Leonetti Cellar, Andrew Will; Oregon: Adelsheim, Cristom, Domaine Drouhin, Evesham Wood, King Estate, Ponzi.