Wine Reviews: American Wines from Coast to Coast

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 11-19-2022

With Thanksgiving coming up, I wanted to share some American wines I think would fit well with any seasonal fare you and your friends and family may be serving. These represent a drop in the bucket of the diversity in regions, of course, but I’d be stoked to share these wines with my family and friends this week.

I haven’t (yet) made a wine trip to Long Island’s North Fork – but that’s long overdue. I’m a long-time East Coast wine fan, and it’s been awesome to see the growth in regions like Virginia, Maryland, and others since I started paying attention about 15 years ago. Recently, I received a six-pack of wines from Long Island’s North Fork that made me think: I’ve gotta get out there already!

And speaking of Virginia: Early Mountain. I love this place and their wines – just such reliably exciting, delicious, honest Virginia expressions. Their Petit Manseng rocks, and is worth checking out if you don’t have much experience with this grape and worth checking out even more if you do. Their reds offer a lot of juicy, spicy, Virginia goodness as well. And the value in here is really something. Very much worth a visit if you’re ever passing through the region.

Troon shouldn’t be a new name to long-time readers, as I’ve been stoked on this Oregon producer’s wines for years. This biodynamic outfit from Southern Oregon’s Applegate Valley is always experimenting with exciting blends and styles. But two of their classic reds in this report make for great cold weather sipping.

And, of course, California is represented here. FEL delivers again with two delightful Savoy Vineyard wines from Anderson Valley that are a great choice for Pinot and Chard-lovers.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

2020 FEL Chardonnay Savoy Vineyard USA, California, North Coast, Anderson Valley
SRP: $52
Medium yellow color. A deep but lively aromatic blend of yellow apples, tart lemons, with nougat and almond, cinnamon crumb cake, and notes of ginger and chalk dust, too. The palate shows crisp acidity and a creamy mouthfeel, with flavors of lemon bars and yellow apples and pears. The complexities in here are exceptional: almond cake, honey, yellow flowers, cinnamon, shaved ginger, with an underlying mineral essence. Gorgeous depth and texture, this should age wonderfully. 13.8% alcohol, this wine is aged 16 months on the lees in 35% new oak. (93 points IJB)

2020 FEL Pinot Noir Savoy Vineyard USA, California, North Coast, Anderson Valley
SRP: $75
Vibrant cherry color. The nose is lovely, with these waves of tangy raspberries, strawberries, with rose petals, clay pot, tobacco, earthy-savory tones, too – there’s a lot to unpack in here. Warm and smooth on the palate with structured tannins and vibrant acidity. Red cherries, tangy strawberries, juicy raspberries, the fruit is laced with tones of floral perfume, pepper, clove, clay and potting soil elements. Suave, silky, crisp, this is ready to drink but will open up nicely over the coming years. 13.9% alcohol, aged 16 months in 24% new French oak. (93 points IJB)

N.V. Sparkling Pointe Brut Nature USA, New York, Long Island, North Fork
SRP: $42
Light gold color. I like the chalky, salty, flinty aromas (really catches the oceanic vibes of Long Island) with some honey and yellow flowers, and lemon and green apple fruit. Juicy yellow apple and lime fruit on the palate, supported with brisk acidity and some nuanced baguette tones. Chalky, spritely and dry, with fresh cut floral stems, dandelion and some spiced white tea. Fun, fresh, delicious blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier from this prolific sparkling wine producer. (88 points IJB)

2020 Peconic Bay Vineyards Riesling USA, New York, Long Island, North Fork
SRP: $28
Bright yellow color. Lovely aromatic display here, with an infusion of juicy peaches and limes, chalk dust and saline, sugar cane, and fresh new tennis balls (in a good way!). Racy acidity frames the palate nicely, balanced sugar throughout, with big chunks of fresh pineapples, drizzled with lime. The chalk dust, crushed sea shells and minerals linger long on the finish. Racy, refreshing and tasty. (90 points IJB)

2021 Lieb Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Bridge Lane USA, New York, Long Island, North Fork
SRP: $16
Medium straw color. Bright and floral on the nose, with tangy limes and juicy white peaches, topped in white flowers, mint and celery seed tones. Zippy, crisp and floral on the nose, with some pleasant creaminess and flavors of white peaches, pineapple and limes. Flinty, chalky tones, with a creamy but vibrant finish. Fun, fresh, a lot of personality for the price here. Really solid value. (87 points IJB)

2021 Macari Vineyards Horses USA, New York, Long Island, North Fork
SRP: $29
Bright fizzy raspberry color. Spritely and tangy on the palate, with crunchy red apples, wild raspberries, with notes of white pepper, rose hips and bay leaf. Dusty texture, very zesty, this has a crunchy feel with tangy red apples and cranberry fruit. Fun and fresh with some cool spicy, herbal tones. A fun accompaniment to a wide variety of foods for sure. A crown cap Cabernet Franc sparkler, destemmed, it spends two days on the skins and is disgorged after five months. (88 points IJB)

2019 Pellegrini Vineyards Chardonnay Stainless Steel USA, New York, Long Island, North Fork
SRP: $23
Pale lemon color. A tangy and brisk style on the nose with lemons and green apples, lemon verbena, seashells, some dandelion and daisy tones. Floral and tangy on the palate with citrus and green apple fruits on a crunchy, vibrant frame. Flinty, oceanic goodness abounds in this seafood-friendly style Chardonnay. (88 points IJB)

2019 Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard Pink Satin USA, New York, Long Island, North Fork
SRP: $34
Pale salmon color. Nose pops with white cherries and strawberries, along with notes of honeysuckle, mint and orange blossom. Crisp acidity, moderate but balanced sugar adds some creaminess and sweetness, but it stays refreshing. Notes of tangy strawberries and juicy cherries, with some nice tea, white pepper and floral perfume tones. A nice salty kick on the finish as well. Melot, Cab Franc and Cab Sauv. (86 points IJB)

2020 Troon Vineyard Syrah USA, Oregon, Southern Oregon, Applegate Valley
SRP: $40
Dark purple color. The nose kicks off with a great burst of smoky, beefy, peppery goodness, with roasted red pepper and mesquite, grille steak, over tangy blueberries and black cherry fruit. The palate shows nice grip with smooth tannic edges and delightfully fresh acidity and tangy plums, blueberries and black cherry fruit. The complex notes of roasted red pepper, soy, glazed mushrooms, gravelly earth and clove. Age-worthy but fresh, this has a lot of deliciousness and savory goodness packed in here, especially for the price. (92 points IJB)

2020 Troon Vineyard Tannat USA, Oregon, Southern Oregon, Applegate Valley
SRP: $50
Deep purple color. The nose of tart black currants and blackberries is great, laced with complexities of smashed rocks, anise, tar, pencil shavings, dried violet petals. The palate is grippy but suave with tangy acidity and a nice core of tar blueberries and currants. Elements of smoky earth, charcoal, anise, coffee grounds and violets add complexity. The notes of savory broth and mushroom need years to unravel, and this will age gloriously for quite some time. Deep, tangy, balanced, spicy – a ton to love. (92 points IJB)

2020 Early Mountain Vineyards Petit Manseng USA, Virginia, Central Virginia, Madison County
SRP: $30
Rich gold color. The nose bursts with personality, showing deep apricot, orange marmalade, candied lemon peel, with notes of honey, graham cracker, white flowers, mint leaves and some salty tones. The palate shows classic Petit Manseng vibes with racy acidity, lip-smacking goodness, and rich, waxy texture, and the balance is just lovely. Nuanced throughout, with a complex mix of honey, hay, almond, yellow flowers. Exciting, delicious stuff that I’d love to taste in three to five years. Includes 4% Pinot Gris and 3% Chardonnay. (90 points IJB)

2021 Early Mountain Vineyards Cabernet Franc Shenandoah Valley USA, Virginia, Shenandoah Valley
SRP: $30
Medium ruby color. Loving the spicy aromatic kick here, with rose hips, black and white pepper, forest floor, along with a display of fresh raspberries, red apple and black cherry fruit. The palate is so fresh but deeply textured, with dusty tannins and a bright core of black cherries and wild raspberries. Lovely earthy tones, red clay, and notes of sage, white pepper, some black olive. Delightfully fresh appeal but a lot of complexity and depth as well. This should age nicely for a few years. If you haven’t tried Shenandoah Cab Franc, this is a great intro and value. (91 points IJB)

2021 Early Mountain Vineyards Foothills USA, Virginia, Central Virginia, Madison County
SRP: $27
Deep ruby color. Inviting and juicy on the nose, with raspberries, red plums, topped in hefty amounts of roses, pepper, violets, leather and clove. The palate is silky and zippy with tangy red and black cherry fruit, juicy strawberries, the fruit is just delish. Notes of sage, rose petals, mint, spiced tea, it adds a lovely autumnal complexity. So darn fun. A fascinating blend of 28% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Petit Verdot, 8% Tanat, 8% Petit Manseng and 5% Cabernet Franc. (90 points IJB)

Comments (2)

  1. Those Petite Manseng’s out of Early Mountain are just great!

  2. So agreed!