Reviewed by Stewart Noble from WineWithoutBS.com.au for AdrianErdedi.com
Ever since my first trip to the USA last year, where I drank nothing but American wines the entire time, I started to wonder why so few American wines are available in Australia. This isn’t about being unpatriotic, it’s about access to whatever wine I wish. I can go to virtually any large retail outlet and easily pick up a wine from New Zealand, France, Italy, Spain, Germany without having to look all that hard. However, if you want to get a wine made in the United States, and you take away the odd bottle of Oregon Pinot , you’ll have to look pretty carefully, unless you just happen to be lucky enough to live near one of the very few bottle shops that can boast some sort of USA wine selection.
I understand there are multiple reasons for this, not the least of which is the consideration from American wineries about whether Australia is a viable export market. California alone has a a population of just under 37 million, so why bother with a country on the other side of the world with just over 20 million?
Ian Lindsay, from USA Wines Direct, tells me that Australia exported over 25 million cases of Aussie wine to the US last year, yet we only imported just over15, 000 cases of theirs! America may have a population 14 times larger than ours, but we are importing 1,666 times less wine than we are exporting. As Chris Rock would say, “That ain’t right!”
Thankfully, Ian is doing what he can to introduce American, and more specifically, Californian wines, into the Australia market and his portfolio currently boasts the biggest range of American wines in Australia. One of these wines is the J.Lohr 2009 Valdiguié, from Monterey on the Californian Coast, close to halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco and just a few hours from the far more famous region of Napa Valley.
The Valdiguié grape was commonly referred to in California as ‘Napa Gamay’ and it was believed at one time that it actually was the Gamay grape, only to discover that this was not correct. Sounds a little like the recent fiasco in Australia with our Albariño turning out to be Savagnin!
This wine has a colour of deep purple and cherry red with an enticing aroma of ripe, red berry fruits. On my first sip of this completely new variety for me I thought “Wow… this is delicious!” Juicy fruit flavours and subtle natural sweetness make for an enjoyable wine that, when served slightly chilled, makes a fantastic, easy drinking summer red wine.
J.Lohr Estates 2009 Wildflower Valdiguié
Price - $19.95 from www.usawinesdirect.com.au
Region – Monterey, California, USA
Final Sip - A thoroughly enjoyable wine that, at $20 makes for the perfect entry level American wine experience.