ARIZONA STRONGHOLD 'NACHISE' RHONE BLEND 2010
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The United States is now the fourth-largest producer of wine worldwide, with an abundance of grapevines planted in many wine regions, though Californian accounts for almost 90% of the country's output. In the late 1800s, the root louse phylloxera decimated many of the vineyards in Europe. It originated in the soils of North America where the vines are naturally resistant and was transferred to Europe on vine cuttings. In this case, North America was both the cause of the problem, and the solution, in the form of resistant rootstock for grafting.
It wasn’t until 1973 when Stag’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon and a Chardonnay from Château Montelana were judged to be the best in the world at the famous Paris Wine Show that the quality of the Californian wine industry was truly confirmed in the eyes of Europe.
Most all varieties are planted these days in the United States, from Syrah to Tempranillo, Pinot Noir to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Viognier and every blend in between. Key varieties are Californian Cabernet, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and Chardonnay. Cooler climates such as Oregon and Washington produce brilliant Pinot Noir. Even states previously considered too hot and arid for wine, like Arizona are being planted, with great results.
Arizona is an American state with a now-burgeoning wine industry that dates back just to the 1970s. Today, this desert state is home to more than 120 wineries and tasting rooms. In southern Arizona wine country, the climate and soils are similar to those of some wine-producing regions of California and Argentina. The most abundant wine areas in the southern half of the state are Willcox and Sonoita, the state’s first American Viticultural Area (AVA); their vineyards produce almost 75% of the state’s grapes. Among the grapes that grow here are Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Willcox now also has its own AVA. In northern and central Arizona wine country, you’ll find thriving wine culture among the cities of Cottonwood, Clarkdale, Jerome, Cornville, Camp Verde, and Sedona. Verde Valley, now also its own AVA, has a climate similar to that of Mediterranean grapegrowing regions. With its volcanic soils, mild winters, and hot summers (balanced by cool nights), this AVA grows deeply coloured, thick-skinned grapes that boast lots of flavour.
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