About US Wine

The United States is one of the most important players in the wine industry. On sheer numbers alone, the US is the fourth largest country in terms of total production; but it is the outstanding quality of wines from the US that is an additional part of its worldwide prestige.

While the first wines produced in the colonies date back to the late 18th century, it has only been since the mid-1960s that the US has entered the premium wine market on a large scale. California, especially Napa Valley and Sonoma County were the areas that drove the new quality movement. Other areas in California also were home to great wines; soon Washington and Oregon were home to first-class wines as well. New York State, especially the Finger Lakes are was rediscovered for its Rieslings and soon wineries started opening in states such as Texas, Virginia and North Carolina.

Today, 90% of domestic premium wine is produced in California and there are several wine types that share the spotlight; these include Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, Pinot Noir from Sonoma's Russian River Valley as well as Santa Barbara County and Chardonnay from several regions, such as Monterey and Sonoma County. Bordeaux-styles reds from Washington State have received great acclaim as have Oregon Pinot Noirs.

Today, the United States is in an enviable position of being one of the largest producers of wine as well as one of the most celebrated.
Top Picks for USA
2014 Cabernet Sauvignon
Opaque violet color. Inviting, toasty aromas and flavors of roasted nuts, dark chocolate mint, and cassis pastry with a satiny, bright, fruity medium-full body and a smooth, complex, long berry-cherry custard tart, melted toffee, and delicate baking spices finish with silky, soft tannins and moderate oak. A plush, juicy Napa cabernet with bright fruit and seamless balance.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
2015 Cuvée Red Wine Napa Valley
Dusty garnet color. Aromas and flavors of menthol mint, spiced blueberries, eucalyptus, and farm lands with a satiny, vibrant, fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, complex, very long vanilla mint and cola, spiced chocolate toffee, and pepper jelly on biscuit finish with fine, chewy tannins and moderate oak. A rich, complex, satisfying red blend with great style and structure.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Peachy Canyon
NV Port Zinfandel
Dusty brown brick red color. Aromas and flavors of buttery praline and toffee, honeyed berries and citrus, and suede with a satiny, tangy, moderately sweet medium-to-full body and a warming, interesting, medium-length spiced cherries and apricots, honeyed golden raisins, sweet and peppery spices, and nuts finish with well-integrated, crunchy tannins and light oak. A superb, complex domestic port-style wine with long waves of rich berry, spice and honey flavors and an enticing layer of ice wine like stone fruits.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
St. Clair Winery
NV Kiva New Mexico
Medium dark amber copper color. Fruity, spicy, attractive aromas and flavors of orange marmalade and spice cake, orange brandy liqueur, and honeyed dried apricot with a round, tangy, moderately sweet medium-to-full body and a warming, distinctive, long spiced apples and peaches, white toffee, and vanilla cream finish with fine, dusty tannins and light oak. A superb orange flavored fortified wine of the highest order; make sure to try in cocktails too.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Monte De Oro
2013 Zinfandel
Nearly opaque violet color. Fresh, tropical aromas and flavors of coconut gelato, huckleberry pie, and dried cherries and apricots with a satiny, tangy, fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, complex, very long spiced oranges, orange blossom honey, creme brulee, and toffee finish with fine, silky tannins. A plush, unctuous zinfandel designed for a full throttle, berry barrage of hedonism.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Frost Bitten
2015 Ice Wine Riesling
Golden straw color. Attractive, fruity, creamy aromas and flavors of spicy peach compote, flan, and pineapple cake with a velvety, tangy, moderately sweet medium-to-full body and a sleek, complex, long candied apricot, mango sorbet, and acacia honey finish with no oak. A delicious, mouthwatering dessert wine rivaling some of America’s best at a price that is hard to beat.
96 points $14 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Michael Gill Cellars
2014 "Black Tie" Syrah
Opaque dark black garnet color. Bright, fruity, smoky toasty savory aromas and flavors of chocolate covered espresso beans and bacon berry doughnut with a lively, fruity full body and a peppery, layered, medium-long creme brulee, spicy berry compote, and buttery praline finish with silky, soft tannins and moderate oak. A rich, seamless, and satisfying fruit-driven syrah with lots of stuffing.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
2012 "Amante" Super Tuscan Style Red Wine Temecula Valley
Dark brick red color. Savory, earthy complex aromas and flavors of dried tomatoes, cherries and olives, roasted black walnuts and pecans drizzled with vanilla cream, clay and leather bound wood chair, and hint of beef bouillon with a satiny, bright, dry medium-to-full body and a smooth, very long borscht, cocoa, nuts, and earth finish with moderate oak. A superb American take on the difficult to replicate artisan Italian style that is reeling with earthy, savory fruit and oak flavors.
96 points $49.95
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Corner 103
2016 Grenache Blanc
Pale golden amber color. Citrusy, elegant aromas of pink grapefruit, fresh cut grass, and vanilla bean with a satiny, lively, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and an elegant, long fresh mint and dill, allspice and apricot, lilac, and wet pebbles finish with well-integrated, silky tannins. A silky mouthfeel and long, satisfying finish give this wine staying power.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
2013 Pinot Noir
Dark dusty garnet color. Inviting aromas of Dr. Pepper, porcini mushroom, and oolong tea with a lightly tannic, bright, dryish light-to-medium body and an intricate, medium-long wet earth, eucalyptus, rose and black pepper, and sponge cake with dried cassis finish with medium, earthy tannins and a suggestion of oak. A concentrated Pinot Noir with complex hedonistic flavors.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab