Until recently, I had a pretty low opinion of wines from the US. I've had lots that were "okay" and LOTS that were barely drinkable, but nothing ever really impressed me.
In 2014, I was even lucky enough to spend a couple of days touring vineyards in Sonoma but I was so unimpressed that I didn't even buy any bottled to bring home.
Recently, however, I've had a few wines which have started to change my mind... maybe! I'm talking about the Kendall Jackson Cabernet Sauvignon and the Bread & Butter Pinot Noir.
The 2018 Kendall-Jackson Cabernet Sauvignon which is actually just 82% Cab with the rest made up of 4 different Bordeaux reds, has all the great elements of Cabernet Sauvignon, but with incredible complexity. This complexity along with how well it was all balanced, is something I had always found American wines to be lacking.
Then last week (on my Birthday!) I had an incredible experience which was the 2019 Bread & Butter Pinot Noir. This was unlike any other Pinot I've had. Starting with a nose full of brioche, but then hit with a taste of fruit, floral and earthy notes with a smooth, delicate mouthfeel. It was one of my favourite wines since I have started reviewing.
So here I am. I now know that there ARE American wines that appeal to my taste, but so far they are all at the €20 or higher price point. Now if that works for you, go for it, but I have 4 kids, 4 cats and a wife so I can't be spending €20 or more on every bottle of wine I have!
But now I am curious, are there American wines available in Ireland with a lower price point that are just as good, or better? There must be, right? So that's what I am going to find out in 2022!
In 2021, I made the decision to explore Italian wines and I was absolutely blown away with some of the styles I discovered and learned about and some of the incredible bottles I found in Irish stores. So can the Americans impress me as much?
With both Ireland and the US going through periods of rapid inflation, finding great value US wines here is going to be a challenge. But thanks to my lovely followers on Instagram, I already have some great leads...
In addition to the very popular Californian wines, I'm going to be on the lookout for wines from Oregon, Virginia, Ohio, Washington state all of which have dramatically increased their wine output over recent years.
My goal for the year will be to review 1 US wine a week (so there'll be lots of other wines too). We're just finished week 3 of 2022 and I will be opening my 3rd US wine tomorrow so I am on track!
If you are reading this, I would love it if you let me know your favourite US wines which are available in Ireland. Message me on Instagram with your tips and I will make sure to give you a shout out when I write my review!