On Fridays, Deb Harkness of Good Wine Under $20 drops by with Serious Grape. This week, your local wine scene.
Last week I ran an informal poll on Twitter, the social networking site. I asked those who followed me—wine bloggers, wine professionals, and consumers—about their picks for up-and-coming wine regions in the United States.
I was stunned by the range of responses. Every part of North America has an emerging wine region—and their wine often represents excellent value, too.
Everybody had a different pick. And the Canadians popped up to point out that Canada, too, has its up-and-coming regions. The pattern that emerged made it clear that the next big wine region just may be the one outside your own front door.
Nearly every state produces wine. Most wine is produced in California, Oregon, and Washington. But these heavy producers can overshadow the wines made in places like Idaho, Virginia, Missouri, Arizona, and New York.
What complicates this picture further for consumers are sales, distribution, and shipping regulations. I live in California and it is impossible for me to find New York wine on the shelves. Shipping small quantities of wine across the country can be expensive, not to mention nerve-wracking given the temperatures wine are subjected to and the distance. I was thrilled, therefore, to receive a sample of the excellent 2004 Wölffer Chardonnay Le Ferme Martin made from grapes grown in the Hamptons on Long Island.
The Hamptons are definitely an emerging American wine region. It had creamy yellow delicious apple aromas and juicy, fresh flavors of honeysuckle and apple and was a wine I would be eager to buy near me—but I can't. If you are on the East Coast, however, you may be more lucky in locating the wine at one of your local stores for just $10-$16.
Another excellent New York wine I had a chance to try thanks to another sample bottle was the 2007 Bouké White Table Wine from Long Island's North Fork AVA. This tangy, refreshing white was made from a blend of Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer, and was just crying out for sushi or Asian cuisine with its orchard fruit flavors and aromas. It's available for under $20—but only on the East Coast.
If you're looking to jump on a wine trend this year, why not make it this one? Drink wines from emerging regions that are local (or localish) and help to support farmers and businesses in your own backyard. From the Okanagan region in Canada to Arizona, and from Lodi in Calfiornia to the Hamptons, North America is full of wine regions waiting to be discovered and enjoyed.
Don't know where to start? Look through the amazing resources on Appellation America, an online portal to help educate and promote the diversity of American wines. And if you're reading this from New York, check out Lenndevours, a superb wine blog dedicated to New York wines and the food that goes with them.
What up-and-coming North American wine regions would you recommend?
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