In the United States, both the west and east coasts of the country produce many great wines. But the oft-asked question remains, “Are wines from the West Coast better than those from the East Coast?” The USA wine rivalry can be intense.
QUALITY, QUANTITY, AND GROWING ENVIRONMENT
First, there is no question that vineyards and winemaking have been better established, and for a much longer period of time, on the West Coast than those on the East Coast. Secondly, the West Coast produces not only more quantity of wines, but also the types of wines are greater in number. But does this make West Coast wines better?
Experts in the wine business all agree that, for the most part, the quality of West Coast wines is better than those made from the East Coast. This has more to do with the climate and the growing environment for grapes than anything else.
SUNSHINE AND TEMPERATURES
To start with, the West Coast has not only long hours of sunshine but many hotter days than the East Coast. This is vital as all vines require ample sunlight to help increase the color, tannins, and flavor of the grapes. The right amount of sunshine, warm temperatures, and soil are very important factors in determining who wins the USA wine rivalry.
On the East Coast, where the temperatures often do not get very warm, this often leads to grapes that are acidic or have an astringent taste (dry and acidic). On the other hand, having too much heat can cause the grapes to over-ripen, resulting in a burnt flavor, but this is often countered on the West Coast by the cool nights that help retain the grapes' acidity. Another factor that benefits vines is their location on the slopes where they get ample sunshine. Coupled with this is the modulation effect of the cool sea breeze from the Pacific Ocean, which helps keep the vineyards healthy, cool, and a little on the dry side.
Overall, grapes grown on the West Coast tend to be more balanced, with complex and restrained flavors, something that consumers of today seem to prefer. The East Coast wines tend to be on the dry side, subtle, moderate to high in acidity, and have mild to moderate alcohol content.
DOES THIS MEAN ONE SHOULD ONLY BUY WEST COAST WINES?
Definitely not. The East Coast does produce some great white and red wines. In fact, the East Coast has the ability to grow a much wider range of grape species compared to the West Coast.
Favorite grape varieties on the West Coast include the family of Vitis Vinifera, which makes the base of most classic West Coast wines, like Chardonnay, Cabernet, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and Merlot. On the East Coast, there are three different species of grapes that include rotundifolia, Vitis labrusca, and Riparia. They are just as versatile and have led to the production of classic wines, like the Niagara ice wines, the Concord reds, and the “foxy” Catawba.
Finally, it should not be forgotten that the climate in the eastern regions of the United States is less predictable, harsher, and yet, despite all this, the wineries have constantly produced some great wines.
The West Coast is head and shoulders ahead of the rest of the country when it comes to wine production, but the East Coast is slowly catching up. While it may not have the volume of the West Coast, the wines from the East Coast are not bad. Judging from sales, New York wines are just as competitive as wines from Washington or California in the price ranges of $10-$20.
In the end, it is all a matter of personal preference. If you live on the West Coast, it is natural that you might be partial to West Coast wines and the same goes for residents on the East Coast. Amidst all this argument between east and west in the USA wine rivalry, most people forget that Washington State is a major league producer of quality wines. If you want to experience the quality of wines from Washington State, here are some very affordable and high-quality wines that you will enjoy.
2020 PACIFIC RIM WICKED GOOD RED
2020 J RIESLING
2018 VIN DE GLACIÈRE RIESLING
2018 RAINSTORM PINOT NOIR ROSÉ
Pacific Rim & Company, located in the State of Washington, knows wines, with a special emphasis on Riesling wines. You can call 1-503-863-5454 to speak to a knowledgeable staff member.
When it comes to buying wine, most people look for the California tag on the bottle. You might want to reconsider the state you are looking in because you could just be missing out on some great Washington state red blends. Granted, California is the leading wine producer in the nation and well established, but Washington state also makes great wines. It is second only to California in winemaking. Even though grapes have been grown in Washington since 1824, serious winemaking only started 50 years ago. Today, there are hundreds of vineyards spread over 60,000 acres located along the Columbia River on the eastern side of the Cascade Mountains.
In this relatively short time period, however, the state’s wine industry has catapulted to the top and makes some superb wines, including Washington state Cabernet Sauvignon wines. While Washington lags in volume produced compared to California, the wine it makes is of excellent quality and good value. If you have difficulty finding Washington wines, it may be because they are so popular, they tend to sell out quickly. Check out our Pacific Rim and Company inventory if you are having difficulty finding wonderful Washington state red blends.
WINES WASHINGTON STATE EXCELS AT
If you want a delicious Washington wine, try Washington state red blends. The majority of red blends in Washington are made in the southeastern corner of the state where the deep, well-drained, loamy soil is ideal. There is ample sunshine at the right angles and the drainage is excellent. This area allows for the growth of several varieties of red and black grapes, which are used to make red blends like Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Washington state Cabernet Sauvignon wines. In fact, the red blends made in Washington are of such great quality that they are often considered to be on the same par as those red blends from the famous Bordeaux region in France. Other red blends, like Syrah, are blended with Mourvedre and Grenache to produce Rhone-style wine, which tends to be slightly sweet, fruity, and spicy. They are packed with aromas of ripened fruity berries. These wines are very easy to drink because of their lightness. Some red blends combine Cabernet Sauvignon with Syrah to mimic the Australian red wines.
Overall, Washington state red blends tend to have an intense dark red coloring with fruity aromas combined with a tinge of oak, coffee, and vanilla. The flavors are tannic and medium to full-bodied. The lighter red blends tend to have aromas of berries and have a soft, round flavor.
There are numerous variations of red blends produced in Washington and they all vary slightly in taste, aroma, and boldness. Some of the top red blends from Washington include Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Pinot Noir. Many Washington red blend wines tend to be less expensive than wines from other parts of the country.
If you are considering Washington state Cabernet Sauvignon wines, among other Washington state choices, check out our inventory. We often have special sales on wines. Here are a few red blends that we think you may love:
- 2020 PACIFIC RIM WICKED GOOD RED
- 2018 SILVER TOTEM CABERNET SAUVIGNON
- 2015 THICK SKINNED RED MOUNTAIN
- 2019 RAINSTORM PINOT NOIR
The above wines range in prices from $12-$40. They are well balanced, soft and round, and have a combination of dark and blackberries. The Washington state red blends can be enjoyed with all types of foods, including pasta, meat, cheese, curries, and cheese. Check out the selections available at Pacific Rim today.
March is here and March madness along with it! You can have your own March madness but instead of a basketball and hoops, you can have wine madness. There is only so much basketball one can watch during March madness and thus to spice up your day, consider wine madness. There are many ways to use wine comparisons to create a wine bracket. If you have never played wine madness, here are a few things to consider:
- First, ideally you need to have 64 wines, but it doesn't need to be that many. You can just play the "Sweet Sixteen" or "Elite Eight". Each person involved fills out a bracket.
- The simplest way to play wine madness is to pit red wines against white wines.
- Ask players to bring bottles of white wine (all different) and different red wines. Decide which wines will compete in the first round, second round, and third round. This is called "seeding". So, the ones you think will be the best, start with the highest rank, with 1 being the highest.
- Next, pick a theme for March madness / wine madness. This can be anything you like. For example, you can have a wine tasting competition or a history quiz.
- Ask each person who has brought the bottle of wine to remove the label, but to preserve it.
- Ask each person to prepare a list of at least 20 questions about their wine and keep the answers a secret.
- In round one, pit red wine versus red wine, white wine versus white wine. For extra fun, add a wine tasting. Can each player tell what type of wine each is? Sweet, medium, or dry? Where is this wine produced?
- The possibilities for creating wine brackets are endless. There are so many different kinds of wines out there, but the most important thing is to have fun. At the end of the day, it improves your knowledge of wine, and will get you to find new types/bottles you might fall in love with.
- Our wine madness bracket is not the only way to play wine madness. You can play it any way you want; the key is to have at least four bottles of reds and four bottles of white wines.
- If you plan to do a wine tasting quiz, it is important to use small portions of the wine or small glasses because you do not want to get too intoxicated before you finish the game!
- To make wine madness delightful, have some appetizers or snacks for everyone.
- The winner gets to take home a bottle of bubbly, or, a bottle of the winning wine.
Some wines that you may want to consider for your March madness/wine madness competition include the following:
To get more ideas about how to make wine comparisons, call Pacific Rim & Company at 1-503-863-5454. The wine connoisseurs who work here are passionate about wine, especially Riesling wine. They are very knowledgeable and are sure to be able to answer any questions you might have. Enjoy March madness to the fullest!
Roughly 80 million Americans drink wine. Of these, 75 percent drink wine regularly. Surveys indicate that nearly 44 percent of adults consume at least 2-3 glasses of wine a week and that number has steadily increased over the past few years. Another key finding is that younger people also love to drink wine, and since the Covid-19 pandemic started two years ago, more people have been drinking wine than ever before.
Many people begin the New Year with resolutions, resolving to do something better or not to do something at all. If you’re like some people who have made wine resolutions, don’t despair – you can still enjoy wine by drinking better wine, and not just drinking “any old” wine that comes cheaply. Quality over quantity is a good goal to aspire to in life, as in wine.
In an era where health consciousness, eco-friendliness, and sustainability are important, experts suggest that people consume quality wines and not overdo the quantity. The best way to know how much you have been drinking is to calculate your weekly budget on wine and determine how often you drink and how much you may be spending on numerous bottles of cheap wine. To drink better quality wines, reallocate your budget so you can spend a little more for fewer bottles of better-quality wine. There are always special deals and sales on many quality wines that you can purchase in this manner. Instead of buying 20 bottles of cheap, heavily sugared wine, buy better quality wines from different regions and develop a new experience in wine drinking.
A healthy way of drinking better wine is now being advocated over quantity because of the following benefits:
- By drinking less often and drinking better-quality wine, it is possible to acquire more and better health benefits
- Drinking less wine diminishes your risk of liver damage
- Drinking better quality wines less often can also reduce your risk of falls and other injuries
- Quality wines (especially red wines) that contain the potent antioxidant, resveratrol, can help keep you looking younger for a longer time
- By drinking less, you also protect your waistline as you avoid junk calories
- You help preserve the environment since there is less garbage produced
Don’t just buy and consume cheap bottles of wine – fully enjoy the experience of drinking wine by choosing higher-quality wines and perhaps not drinking quite as much. Make one of your wine resolutions be to drink responsibly.
DO I NEED TO SPEND MORE TO DRINK QUALITY WINES?
Drinking better wines does not mean you have to spend more. Many good-quality wines are relatively inexpensive. Also, if you only drink half a bottle of wine, you can save the other half. Today, there are gadgets available that allow you to spray a layer of argon gas over the wine to keep it fresh for some time. This is very useful if you open several bottles of wine at the same time. When you reduce consumption, there is less need for wine containers (both plastic and bottles) and there is less garbage produced, which is helpful to the environment.
HOW MUCH WINE SHOULD YOU DRINK EVERY DAY?
Several studies have shown that the optimal daily intake of wine should be two glasses (300 ml) for men and one glass (150 ml) for women. Drinking this amount of wine is reported to potentially be associated with health benefits. Drinking more than the recommended amount can lead to health problems. Change your wine resolutions to drinking better quality wines and reduce the quantity.
If you want to start drinking better wines, visit Pacific Rim and Company where you will get world-class wines that are affordable and of exceptional quality. Check out our current inventory today!
Even though Washington state is famous for its red blends, in the early days when the region started to grow grapes, it was felt that the environment was too cold to ripen red and black grapes. Hence, the majority of vineyards started to grow cool-climate white grapes, especially those brought over from Germany, and this led to the evolution of Washington state Riesling wine. Riesling grapes were first planted in the Yakima Valley nearly 50 years ago, and today this area has emerged as a top-class region to produce Riesling, and, more importantly, more Riesling production than any other state in the country. The Riesling grape is one of the best white wine varieties, along with Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Originating from the Rhine Valley of Germany, this thin, green-skinned grape thrives in the cool climate of Washington state along the Columbia River.
CLIMATE RESULTING IN FULL FLAVORS
The success of Riesling has been chiefly due to the climate: hot summers, cool nights, and the well-drained loamy soil along the Columbia Valley. The cooler evening temperatures are vital for high-quality Riesling flavors, resulting in full-flavored crispy, well-balanced acidic wines with ample fruity aromas.
Over the years, if there is one white wine that has maintained the reputation of Washington as an elite wine producer, it is Washington state Riesling wine. The Riesling produced in Washington state rivals the very best that is produced in Germany and elsewhere. While red blends have overshadowed white wines in Washington, Riesling still stands tall and proud, competing favorably with the red blends. Even though the production of many white wines has diminished over the past three decades, the tide is again shifting, and more winemakers are focusing on white wines again, like Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Grigio. The emphasis, however, is on Riesling’s success story.
AROMATIC FROM SWEET TO DRY
The Riesling produced in Washington state varies in style from very sweet to dry. The majority of Riesling is never aged and usually consumed while it is yet young. Washington state Riesling wine is known for its aroma that is best described as fruity, peach, or tropical with a delicate balance of acidity and residual sugar.
Due to the success of Riesling in Washington state, some winemakers have started to adopt the same production methods as used in Germany and are even partnering with German vintners to create more specialty Riesling wines.
Washington state Riesling wines are versatile and can be paired with many foods, including pork, beef, seafood, and many strong flavored Asian and Mexican cuisine dishes.
ICE WINE WASHINGTON STATE
The Riesling grape is mostly made into a variety of wine types; Washington winegrowers also use the grape to make ice wine, which is in high demand. Ice wine Washington state is sweet and concentrated from grapes that were allowed to freeze on the vine.
Washington growers have started to grow grapes at higher elevations to maximize the quality of white wines. Combined with cool nights, this has allowed the white wines to retain their acidity. These advances in grape farming have allowed grape growers to make at least three dozen white varieties, producing high-quality whites like Riesling, Chardonnay, Roussanne, Sémillon, and many more. Even though Washington's white wines may have been off the national radar, it is only a matter of time before Americans recognize the high-quality white wines produced in the state. As the next generation of winemakers develops even better techniques of growing grapes, the best is yet to come.
It is no secret that Pacific Rim and Company is fanatical about Riesling wines. That’s where their true passion lies, and they will be happy to talk to you about this amazing wine and the grapes that give rise to its production. Give Pacific Rim a call today at 1-503-863-5454 to discover what they love so much about Washington state Riesling wine. Take a look at our current inventory!