American Wines

Discussion in 'The Speakeasy' started by Lyrt, Dec 9, 2006.

  1. One of my friends just refuses to drink anything but French wines, in part for noble reasons, I have to concede. When in an Italian restaurant, he won’t refuse to drink an Italian wine, but when it comes to Australian or American ones, I feel something fishy in his staunch refusals.

    My best friend and I just set up an evil plan :devil: : we bought a bottle of Californian wine and if it’s good, we’ll buy another bottle and exchange its label with a French one. You guess what happens next. This is going to be fun.:biggrin:

    Here’s my problem. This is the only American wine that was available at the supermarket. Could you provide a list of good American wines that are not too hard to find (no oak chips, no chaptalisation) – I need to find it here in a specialised wine merchant.

    No idea what this wine’s worth (behold the power of my phone camera):
  2. MJB


    I do not know wines well. Still, two California vineyard which I have found available and heard to be really good are Wild Horse, Frogs Leap. Oregon also has some good vinyards--Erath is both affordable and available I believe. Not much expertise here--just some name dropping to be honest.
  3. Most of the Australian wines I tried are very good. I like Yellow Tail Sheraz. We also have very fine wines here on Long Island. I like Martha Clara Estate bottle Cabernet Sauvignon. They also make a good Merlot. (apologies to "Sideways"). Just because wine comes from France does not make it better. I am not a wine expert by any means but I have had some truly horrid French wines. I have never had a terrible Australian or New Zealand wine. :biggrin:
  4. If you like the Zinfandel you should try:
    Gravity Hills Tumbling Tractor Zinfandel
    Robert Parker gave the 2004 88-90 Points. Its really a great wine and its from California.
  5. I don’t want this thread to turn into a pissing contest. I just note that wine in France is your everyday alcoholic beverage and is bought by the penniless worker as well as the wealthy bourgeois. Thus the quality of wine varies greatly to accommodate everybody’s purse. Not everybody can afford Saint-Julien or Haut-Brion.
  6. I love many French wines as well but for more tips on good American wines.
    If you like Pinot than the Melville Pinot Noir Estate is great.
  7. mark the shoeshine boy

    mark the shoeshine boy Moderator Emeritus

  8. Thank you all for contributing. I just tasted the Zinfandel and I’m not satisfied for I find it suspiciously sweet. Let’s stick to classics. If the wine connoisseurs here could give me tips on good Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon, that would be great.

    Last year I tested a good Sauvignon but damn I can’t remember its name.
  9. I have been lurking for a few weeks now so it is ironic that my first post has nothing to do with shaving.

    If your friend is a French wine drinker and you really want to pull this off, you should buy an American wine that closely resembles some of the French appellations.

    Pinot Noir, especially those from the Willamette valley in Oregon, closely resemble Burgundy wines from France. Some vinards are even developed from French cuttings. Sokel Blosser (sp?) is a great Oregon Pinot, and not outrageously priced.

    You could also look for some Syrah blends from the Santa Ynez valley in CA. This region does some great Rhone style wines that can be purchased at reasonable prices. Zaca Mesa has a blend called "Z Cuve" that is modeled after "Clos De Pape" and runs about $16.

    Hope this info helps. I applaud you efforts to turn your friend on to American wines (even if done through a good ol' Bait and Switch) there are several great wines that he is missing out on!
  10. Agreed, Patricia Green also makes some nice Pinot out of Oregon.
  11. I just add some precisions. The reason my friend drinks exclusively French wines and predominantly those from Languedoc is that he’s very angry at the government (and the French). In the 80’, viticulturists from that specific region essentially grew table wines. They were encouraged to level up the quality of their product and that’s what they did.

    At the same time, the French government encouraged French to lower their wine consumption and it worked remarkably well. Now some wine growers from here have to live with minimum welfare payment while they possess an outstanding know-how.

    That’s the reason why my friend chooses to give his money to these people. However, I suspect his refusal to drink wines made by Americans is solely motivated by anti-Americanism :biggrin: . My best friend and I just want to have fun. :lol:
  12. In France, I think you are most likely to find American wines from large, commercial wineries (Gallo being one of the largest, though the wine you picture is supposed to be one of their higher-end offerings). The truly good California and American wines come from the smaller distributors, who often have enough problem getting into the U.S. market, let alone the European market. The last time I was in France, I was appalled at the American wines that were available -- truly some of the worst. Given the likelihood that you will most likely only find wines from large U.S. producers, try to find a Cabernet from BV (Boullieau Vineyards) -- they are a large winery, but they tend to produce better quality products than Gallo.
  13. I have found several wines from Chateau Ste Michelle, Kendall Jackson, and Coppola (and others) that are as good as all but one French wine (Chateau Margeaux) I have ever tasted. The Coppola Zinfandel and Claret are amazing. A Kendall Jackson Pinot Noir was superb.

  14. You're in France and you want to buy American made wine? I have no clue what is available there for you. we might be batter able to help you out if you give us a run down of the brands that are on the shelves there.
  15. TimmyBoston

    TimmyBoston Moderator Emeritus

    If your trying to get something good, IMO I'd try to find some high end Napa Valley Cabs. My favorite are from Caymus. They aren't readily available in a grocery store, but they are quite tasty.
  16. ouch

    ouch Moderator Contributor


    France is still the best source of wine for both rich and poor.
  17. I would disagree about French wines - I have found the California and Washington State Cabernets tend to be much more consistant than the French.
  18. This is really interesting, and I'm quite enjoying watching to see which wine you choose for your "prank". Personally I think quality knows no nationality and I've tasted good wines from all over.
    The first time I went wine tasting (ok, the only time I've gone wine tasting) about 10 years ago, I was impressed with a Johannesburg Riesling I tried; the people at the winery said it did not sell well here because of popular sentiment aimed at South Africa due to their policy of apartheid at the instead of "Johannesburg Riesling" it was marketed here simply as "Riesling".
    That said I have to agree with the above, give us a run-down of what is available to you. Just because we may like some small, or even obscure vineyard here in the 'States, doesn't mean that it will be easily available to you locally...
    Also, while I'm not sure I agree with your friend's anti Americanism (we're not all bad...) it makes the prank that much funnier, and I also completely understand your friend's desire to support French vineyards considering the circumstances. Were the US government to do the same here, I think I would exclusively buy US wines just for the principle of the thing.
    Let us know how it sounds like it may result in a good laugh.
    John P
  19. In my humble opinion, Washington State also makes some very fine wines. Tefft cellars ( makes some superb red and white wines as well as dessert wines. I will second the Chateau Ste Michelle nomination. I am also fond of some of Maryhill, Hogue or Covey Run wines. I would suspect most have their own websites. Yakima Valley has many other wineries there in Washington, I can't remember them all as I haven't lived there in years.
  20. Oh, I should have added that some of the above mentioned wineries do have wines represented nationally in local supermarkets and wine merchants. However Tefft's and Maryhill's I have yet to come across locally here in Michigan.

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