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All fifty of the United States of America now produce wine and quality is increasing in many regions outside of California. US wine today extends far beyond Napa Valley and its iconic cult Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blends.
Among the more exciting wine-producing states are Washington, Oregon and New York. In Washington State, a wide range of international grape varieties are cultivated to produce a diversity of wine styles. Common varietals include Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot, though there is no shortage of experimentation happening. Oregon is comparable to Burgundy, and Pinot Noir is the dominant variety. The Willamette Valley sub-region is particularly recognized for its quality Pinot. New York is developing rapidly and one of its most iconic wines is Riesling from the Finger Lakes sub-region.
California is by far the most significant wine region in the USA, accounting for around ninety percent of the country’s overall production. Wines range from inexpensive bulk juice to cult Cabernets that can make first growth Bordeaux look reasonably priced. Common white varietals include Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, sometimes known as Fumé Blanc. Popular red wine styles include single varietal Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel and Pinot Noir, as well as Bordeaux-style red blends, sometimes known as Meritage. The most popular wine sub-regions in California include Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley.
No single grape variety or style dominates wine production in Washington State. The region is increasingly associated with experimentation and exploration, and a wide range of international grape varieties are cultivated here. The most common white varietals are Riesling and Chardonnay, while prominent red varietals include Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot. Rhône varietals like Grenache and Mourvèdre are becoming more common in Washington, however. The key sub-regions of wine production in Washington include Columbia Valley, Red Mountain, Walla Walla Valley and Yakima Valley.
Comparisons are frequently drawn between the wines produced in Oregon and Burgundy. In both regions, Pinot Noir reigns supreme. Crucially, both are located along the 45th parallel, meaning that they share a similar growing climate. Other grapes cultivated include Riesling, Pinot Gris and some red and white Rhône varieties. Among the most important sub-regions are the cool-climate Willamette Valley and the warmer Southern Oregon.