France may be your first thought when you think of places that make incredible wine, but the US offers its own diverse wine-producing regions that are widely respected for their delicious wines.
The next time you’re grabbing a bottle for dinner or for a host gift, consider trying one of our domestic wines. If you’ve never tried them before, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
To help with your selection, here is a list of the different US wine-producing regions and a little about their various varietals. Plus, I’ve added in suggestions for pairing them with meals so you can have the full flavor experience.
California’s notoriously warm and temperate climate makes for some really great grape-growing all the way from Mendocino and Lake Counties in the north, down to Temecula and San Diego County in the south.
Probably the most established and widely known wine producing regions in the US are Sonoma and Napa Valley. Best known for silky, lush red wines, Napa Valley offers wines such as Cabernet Sauvignons & Merlots, while the slightly cooler Sonoma Valley makes gorgeous, bright Pinot Noirs. I’d suggest you try a deep red from here with a classic juicy steak.
Both of these regions also produce white wines that tend to be tropical and full flavored like Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs that pair really well with lighter seafood, cream-based, or chicken dishes.
As you head south, you’ll find distinct wines such as Pinot Noirs from Santa Barbara County and spicy French-inspired blends of Syrah, Grenache and Mouvedre from Paso Robles.
*If you haven’t seen the movie “Bottle Shock,” check it out. It’s a fun film based on the 1976 blind wine tasting in Paris where California wines beat the most prestigious wines of France at that time, putting the US and California wines on the map.
With a unique set of grape-growing conditions, the Pacific Northwest’s terrain is composed of ancient volcanic soil. The climate is cool and with the perpetually drizzly weather, the vines also get plenty of water. The star of this region is Oregon’s Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley where they have the perfect conditions to grow this infamously temperamental grape.
The style ranges from juicy and dripping with cherry fruit flavors to an earthy, savory personality. A great example of how fish doesn’t always have to pair with white wine, is found by serving this Pinot Noir with rich salmon from the same region.
Washington State is a newbie to the wine-producing scene but they’ve quickly built a reputation for making full throttled Cabernets and some delicious, black cherry scented Malbecs.
Ancient glaciers created the Finger Lakes region in upstate New York, leaving behind the perfect conditions to make delicious white wines, especially Riesling. Known for its range of styles and versatility at the table, Dry Riesling can be paired with spicy Asian dishes to cool down the heat. and they work wonderfully with sweet, fruity desserts.
Coast to coast, the United States offers a great selection of wines that can suit any taste or budget. And if you’re ever close to one of our wine producing regions, drop into a winery for an up-close experience and a tasting lesson direct from the experts. You’ll have a blast and you’ll learn a lot!