Our tour begins at the founding winery of Washington State, Chateau Sainte Michelle who, although mastering all the great wine varietals, are particularly famous for making the best Rieslings in the US. Their Columbia Valley Riesling offers crisp apple flavours with subtle mineral notes; an “everyday Riesling” that is an absolute pleasure to drink on its own or with a wide variety of foods. Staying in Washington State we travel then to Vashon Island, just off the coast of Seattle, where master winemaker Chris Camarda crafts premium Bordeaux varietals which routinely score 95pts from the top US critics. It's hard not to love his entry level "Involuntary Commitment",propelled by cedary Cabernet Sauvignon fruit and plummy, chocolatey Merlot, achieves a wonderful harmony on the palate thanks to refreshing acidity and plentiful soft tannins. Then we head south to the Drouhin Family's Oregon outpost where Veronique Drouhin has built a reputation as one of Oregon's greatest winemakers over the last 30 years. Named after her son, the 'Arthur' Chardonnay is a gorgeous wine that combines wonderful minerality and brightness.
On Day 4 we head to Seghesio Vineyards in Northern California's Sonoma County where Italian consultant Alberto Antonini assists Ted Seghesio to create a ripe, juicy, approachable style of Zinfandel in vineyards whose vines date back to 1895. Then we head to neighbouring Napa Valley where Cabernet focused winery Pine Ridge make one of the most delicious white wines in the US...a Chenin Blanc-Viognier blend whose crisp palate leads with ripe fruit flavours of pineapple, lychee, Meyer lemon and fuzzy white peach that linger through the refreshing finish. One the last day we head further south to the Santa Maria Valley, close to the coast north of Los Angeles. There, legendary wine maker Jim Clenenden, crafts Burgundian inspired Chardonnays and Pinots which have been consistently acclaimed since he first began in the early 1980s. We taste his Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir, a medium-bodied, elegant Pinot with a bright nose of cranberry, wild blackberry, warm earth and cinnamon stick with nutmeg, autumn leaves, orange peel and red berries.