What comes out as the finest wine

The Question of Faith: Is American Wine an Alternative?

American wine is often little known. And yet: around 20 million hectoliters of wine are produced in the USA every year. A considerable amount that matures on the approximately 224,000 hectare area.

Requirements in the USA

Viticulture is little or not regulated by law, although there is an AVA seal. AVA stands for American Viticultural Areas and is a designation of origin. The region includes Paso Robles, the Napa Valley and Sonoma Country. At least 85 percent of the wines that carry the AVA seal must come from the associated regions.

Other names are "Jug Wine", with which so-called bulk wines of the greatest simplicity, and "Cooler" for wines that are light and low in alcohol.

US preferences

American wine lover mainly rely on the classic Chardonnay, on Sauvignon Blanc as well as on Chenin Blanc. However, it can be stated that there is no purely American viticulture, but that German influences can also be felt. Riesling and Gewürztraminer namely, are also grown in the United States.

Some Chardonnays that are produced in the USA now belong to the elite that knows how to present themselves all over the world. And that contrary to the assumption that American wines are worthless!

The popular red wines also offer a particularly high quality, to which besides Cabernet Sauvignon also Zinfandel or Merlot belong. Rubired and Syrah are slowly finding their way and are already among the insider tips of American wine connoisseurs.

The following selection shows the most popular wines that come from the USA, with only three Riesling wines among them. (# 01)

Popular wines from the USA

The following selection shows the most popular wines that come from the USA, with only three Riesling wines among them. It should be noted that the Riesling area ranked behind Germany and even left Australia and France behind. This means that the USA has clearly caught up, but German Riesling wines are still the leaders.

Wine connoisseurs should take a closer look at the following Wines from the United States:

  • San Andreas
    Pinot Noir
    Hirsch Vineyards, California
    The red wine impresses with its tart and robust taste, but only offers a moderate body. Notes of smoke and sour cherries refine the wine, which does not want to go well with the typical wines from California. Tip: Better not to enjoy too much of it, because the wine really has it all!
  • Heritage Red
    Bedrock Wine Co. California
    The wine is based on the Zinfandel grape and represents the typical American wine, as every cliché expects. It is lush and sweet, but offers a flavor that is almost exotic. At the same time, the Heritage Red is rather fresh and elegant, offers a modern touch that doesn't fit the cliché after all. The wine, which costs around 50 euros, is in good company, because its cheaper friends from this wine-growing region also know how to convince.

Wine connoisseurs should take a closer look at the following wines from the United States. (# 02)

  • Chardonnay "K & U" special edition
    Au Bon Climat, California
    With this wine, the taste of the grapes, spice and a fine melt come into their own in a perfect way, it is optimally matured and is considered the best companion for every "sophisticated" meal. The winemaker is considered the old master of Chardonnay and has always attached great importance to elegant wines, which, however, did not always correspond to current wine fashions. The Chardonnay is also not a fashion wine, but knows how to convince with its properties.
  • Metallico Chardonnay
    Morgan, California
    The Metallico is based on the relatively new production method. The maturation of the wine is done in an oak barrel - usually. In the method used for the Metallico, the conventional oak barrel is replaced by a barrel made of stainless steel. This should bring out the fruity aroma particularly well. The wines that come out are often very acidic and deliberately slim, but the Metallico impresses with its freshness, its subtle melt and the delicate taste of ripe pear and lemon peel. The wine is accessible and at the highest level!
  • Pinot Gris Estate
    Eyrie Vineyard, Oregon
    Finally a wine that doesn't come from California. But that doesn't detract from its quality, because the winemakers in Oregon also know how to impress. The wine captivates with its freshness and liveliness, with its note of mandarins and the independence that has nothing in common with the original sweetness and the rich body of the original Pinot Gris grapes.

Many wines from the USA have a very high alcohol content. (# 03)

  • Three Vineyards Riesling
    Chehalem, Oregon
    Another wine from Oregon: The Riesling thrives here perfectly in the rather cool climate, develops a slight acidity, is fresh and semi-dry. Anyone who enjoys this wine in the morning is sure to be awake afterwards, whereby the unfermented grape sugar, which can still be found as a slight nuance in taste, knows how to tame the dry aroma and acidity.
  • Kung Fu Girl Riesling
    Charles Smith, Washington State
    Another Riesling in our collection, this one of the most successful in the USA. It was created after the turn of the last century, so it is a rather young representative of its kind. It smells of white peach and impresses with its fruity taste. It is juicy, slightly acidic and plays with its nuances. If the wine were human, it would be described as quick-witted, because it certainly does not know a subtle approach!
  • Dry Riesling
    Red Newt Cellars, New York State
    The wine is daring, offers a completely new taste experience and cannot be compared with any other wine. It reveals itself with a slightly smoky note and a nuance of grapefruit, its acidity can almost be described as classy. At the same time, connoisseurs experience a new freshness of herbs with it, which has hardly been found in this form until now. The wine can still mature for many years and actually gets better every year. An exciting wine that can be rediscovered every time!

Connoisseurs like to describe red wine as slightly ironic, but it has a very convincing taste. (‚# 04)

  • Le Cigare Volant
    Bonny Doon Vineyard, California
    Now we're back to California - wine lovers simply can't avoid this state for long. The Cigare Volant is based on an American wine that was cultivated as early as 1984. The grapes come from the Rhône and are therefore typically of French origin. But the cigare has always reinvented itself and has undergone major changes in recent years. It is now clearly bitter in taste, almost looks a little cool. At the same time it has a slightly earthy note and a high degree of herbal freshness. Anyone who drinks this wine feels a little transported to France, its taste is so typical. At the same time, it is original like no other and worth a real recommendation.
  • A proper claret
    Bonny Doon, California
    Connoisseurs like to describe red wine as slightly ironic, but it has a very convincing taste. The wine is full, but at the same time appears delicate and surprises the connoisseur with the fact that it is reminiscent of the Bordeaux wines from earlier times. The wine looks a little old-fashioned, but still young, both fresh and full and thus presents itself as a luxury product of opposites. The tannins that the Californian representatives of Cabernet Sauvignon tend to use are discreetly reserved, and the alcohol content is also not excessively high. A real pleasure wine!

Many wines from the USA have a very high alcohol content. (# 05)

High alcohol content

Many wines from the USA have a very high alcohol content. This now seems so normal that it is almost noticeable when a wine has a lower content. The Brix is ​​important for the alcohol content: This is a unit of measurement in which one degree corresponds to one gram of sugar per 100 ml. Brix is ​​used for the dissolved sugar that is in the juice of grapes. In California, this value is up to 28 Brix, but on average it is only 22 to 25.

The alcohol content then comes to around 12.5 to 13.5%. The Brix, however, are more of a statistical value that American winegrowers in particular rarely want to rely on. For them, the taste and appearance of the grapes also count, which together then results in the optimal harvest time. If the grapes look “good”, they are usually very ripe and have a correspondingly high sugar content. In addition, the climate of California contributes to the fact that the sugar content in the grape increases, which explains why the alcohol content is so high.


Photo credits: © Shutterstock Cover picture: Fotoluminate LLC, # 01 Trong Nguyen, # 02 _trindade51, # 03 _Cassiohabib, # 04 g-stockstudio, # 05 Goran Bogicevic