Showing posts with label Nevada. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nevada. Show all posts

Monday, March 9, 2020

Now And Zin Wine Country Series Stands At 45 States

What started as an idle thought - "can I taste wines from all 50 U.S. states?" - has become a personal mission.  Now And Zin's Wine Country series debuted nearly a decade ago, and we have now tasted wine from 45 states.  Just five to go - Alaska, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming.

Now And Zin's Wine Country started with a series about wines made from America's Norton grape, in which I sampled wine from Missouri, Virginia and Georgia for the first time.  I was surprised by the quality and fascinated by the notion of wine tasting across America.

If you can make good wine in California, that's expected - not that it's easy, but it seems that's what you're supposed to do with great soil and perfect weather.  Making good wine in areas of the country where nature isn't quite as accommodating is a real achievement.

I've heard from American winemakers about Indiana limestone, Cornell grape creations and moderating winds from - of all places - Lake Erie.  I've heard winemakers cry in anguish, "I want to make dry wines, but all my customers want is sweet!"

I've sampled mead from Montana and Maine, Muscadine from Alabama and Kentucky Cabernet Franc.  I've had a Super Tuscan-style blend from Arizona, mile-high wine from Colorado, amazing bubbles from Massachusetts, Michigan and Illinois, Zinfandel from Nevada and New Mexico, New York Riesling, New Jersey Merlot and North Carolina Chardonnay.

I've tried wine made from Vermont apples, Florida blueberries, North Dakota rhubarb, West Virginia blackberries and Hawaiian Maui pineapples.

There have been plenty of unexpected grapes, like Petit Manseng from Georgia, Carménère from Idaho, Traminette from Indiana, Eidelweiss from Iowa, Marquette from Minnesota and Catawba from Pennsylvania.

Two Nebraska wines are named after pelicans; a South Dakota winemaker uses Petite Sirah to take the acidic edge off the Frontenac.  There's Touriga Nacional growing in Tennessee.

Most of the wines for this series have been supplied by the winemakers for the purpose of the article, while some have been sent by friends of mine who had travel plans to a state I had yet to taste.  To all who have sent wine for this project, I offer my heartfelt thanks.

It has taken nine years to sample wine from 45 states, so the end is in sight.  Shipping wine in the United States has proven to be a stumbling block on more than one occasion.

Contacts made in Utah and Oklahoma have dropped out of sight, while responses are hard to come by at all from Alaska, Wyoming and Mississippi.  I am sure for some of these states, I'll probably have to find someone who makes wine in their garage.  Any Mississippi garagistes out there?

While we are on the subject, if you know a winemaker in the states which haven't been covered in Wine Country yet - Alaska, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming - please pass this article along to them.  Even if they can't ship to me, I'd love to hear from them.

Also, one state which has been left blank is California.  Of course, I sample a lot of California wine, so finding it isn't the problem.  I want to determine one wine or winery which is representative of California for this series.  If you have any thoughts, I'd love to hear them.  Comment here, email or contact me on Twitter.

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Monday, November 14, 2011


wine statistics

Most of the wine produced in America comes from California.  Oregon, Washington and New York are also significant producers.  After that, though, wine production per state drops off dramatically.  That was the inspiration for the Now And Zin Wine Country series - exploring wine from “the other 46” states.

What about consumption, though?  Who is drinking all that wine made in the top four wine producing states?  You might be surprised which states consume the most wine, per capita.

In Washington, D.C., the average consumption of wine is 6.6 gallons per adult citizen per year.  That means, statistically speaking, the nation’s capital has the largest concentration of wine drinkers in America.  Alright, if you say that doesn’t surprise you, I’ll buy that.  I’ll wager the rest of the top five might.

Folks in New Hampshire consume 4.8 gallons of wine per year to land at number two.  I would assume that cider and mead are probably in that mix, too.  In Massachusetts and Vermont, they drink 4.1 gallons per person annually, while Nevada rounds out the top five at 3.8 gallons.

Connecticut, Delaware and New Jersey residents consume 3.6 gallons each per year, while Rhode Islanders, Hawaiians and Californians check in just under that mark at 3.4 gallons.

That's the top eleven wine-consuming states in America.  Are you surprised at the numbers?

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Thursday, June 9, 2011


Still striving to taste 50 wines in 50 states, Now And Zin's Wine Country series gambles on a Zin from Nevada.

Nevada's wine industry is one of the tiniest in America.  There are only three wineries in the state and a half dozen additional vineyards.  At one time not too long ago, there was only one winery in Nevada, and it was the Pahrump Valley Winery, about an hour outside of Las Vegas.

Wine grapes are very hard to grow in Nevada, as the weather is not hospitable.  Depending upon where you are, it's either too hot or too cold.  The University of Nevada at Reno studies grape growing in an effort to stimulate that industry for the state.  They feel the grape-growing areas in Washington and Colorado are similar in climate to the northern part of Nevada.

Pahrump Valley Winery is in the southern part of the state, where temperatures are very hot throughout the long summer and can get quite cold during the winter.

Nevada Ridge ZinfandelPahrump Valley Winery was established in 1990 in the town that bills itself as "The Heart of the New Old West."  Besides the winery, Pahrump is probably most noted for its legal brothels.  Pahrump Valley's 2005 Nevada Ridge Zinfandel was the first Nevada-grown red wine produced in the state.  They made 100 cases of that vintage and plan to produce 1200+ cases of wine in 2011.  They also have the first-ever Nevada Port aging presently.

Pahrump Valley does utilize some California and Oregon grapes, but the Zinfandel is all Nevada and they proudly say it represents their terroir well.

Bill and Gretchen Loken - the winemakers and proprietors - give special thanks on the label of the ‘08 Nevada Ridge Zin to Jerry Nelson and Bob and Roni Regan, who are listed as contributing growers.
The Nevada Ridge 2008 Zinfandel is a medium ruby color I can see through.  Wild cherry on the nose is joined by plenty of vanilla spice notes.  There is quite a bit of alcohol on the nose, and on the palate at first.  That’s surprising since it carries a 14.2% abv number, not huge by Zinfandel standards.  The heat does settle down nicely after a bit of time, though.  I’d recommend decanting for a couple of hours.

The wine shows big, bright berry flavors; there’s a raspberry layer over the wild cherry I smell, and a dusty aspect laces the fruit.  A flavor of black tea lasts into the finish very pleasantly.  It’s a fairly lengthy finish, too.

The mouthfeel is a little lighter than I am used to with California Zinfandels, but in the hot desert summertime, that’s probably a welcome attraction.  I can even see drinking the Nevada Ridge Zin with a bit of a chill on it - say, at a barbecue.

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