American Wine Awards ‘07


October marks an important month in terms of American wine — Food and Wine magazine gives out their annual awards for what they deem the best American wines out there.  This is the tenth year of the awards, and a number of new wines popped up on the list, including a few old favorites.  An excerpt is below, but you can see the entire list right here - did your favorites make the cut?

Best Wines $20 and Under

Whites

Sauvignon Blanc

2006 Westerly Vineyards ($19)
California’s Santa Ynez Valley is no longer a secret, though Happy Canyon, on its southern perimeter, is still pretty unknown. Thanks to warm days and cool nights, it’s the perfect place to produce wines like this delightfully vibrant Sauvignon, packed with lively melon and grapefruit flavors.

Chardonnay

2006 Chehalem Inox ($19)
This unoaked, steel tank-fermented Chardonnay (inox is short for “steel” in French), from winemaker Harry Peterson-Nedry, showcases Oregon’s cool-climate fruit; it has a palate-pleasing leanness that brings those juicy peach, apple and tropical-melon flavors to the fore. Unhampered by oak, it’s all pure Chardonnay.

Reds

Pinot Noir

2005 Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara County ($20)
This label has long been star winemaker Jim Clendenen’s entry-level Pinot Noir, and his 2005 is likely to be the best yet—an elegant, medium-bodied, European-style wine.

Merlot

2004 Praxis ($15)
After stints at California wineries such as Jarvis and Lyeth, vintner Bill Arbios established his own Arbios label in Sonoma—and later a value line, Praxis. Broad and supple, this Merlot from the Alexander Valley highlights the region’s famously flamboyant fruit flavors.

Cabernet Sauvignon

2004 Edge ($20)
It’s tough to find any Napa Cabernet for $20 these days, much less one this stylish. Ray Signorello, Jr., made this full-bodied, lightly oaked wine from grapes purchased all over Napa Valley, including Stags Leap.

Zinfandel

2005 Joel Gott California ($17)
Fifth-generation vintner Joel Gott knows how to supply plenty of bang for the buck. He scoured Napa, Sonoma, Amador and Lodi for the mostly old-vine fruit that went into this sophisticated yet juicy Zin.

Syrah

2005 Andrew Murray Vineyards Tous les Jours ($16)
Andrew Murray gave this Syrah the serious treatment generally reserved for a producer’s best wines (limited yields, hand-harvesting). The rewards are clear in this concentrated red, made with grapes sourced from Santa Barbara and Paso Robles.

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