A Wine That Shouts ‘Made In America’

Fruit, herbs and spices

Can you taste culture in wine? Maybe an even more basic question is, can you taste culture at all? it is easy to visit or live in a foreign land and be immersed in its nuances, customs, terroir, language and people. You get to see the land, the people’s attitude and world view, their way of life and, of course, their food and drink.

Is what they produce to eat and drink another expression of their culture? What wine would represent the American culture?

Perhaps i’m biting off more than i can chew, but i believe American culture is more than just fast food and big red wines.

Our culture likes the best of all worlds. We love tasty and hedonistic, but we also want immediate and what’s now. We are a young culture in the big scheme of things, and even younger is our food and wine culture.

It is unfair to judge a culture by just one singular wine, but if i had to choose one it would have to be napa valley Cabernet sauvignon. What else would it be?

Is there a better example of the big, immediate flavors, impressive in weight, loud and proud, that beams out to the world – brash maybe in a sense – but can back it up with all of its flavor that is made in America? true to our nature of American exceptionalism, it even outdoes its old world counterparts in many cases. some might say that no one does it better. i know some drinkers who don’t drink anything else.

Sings with fruit

What better wine can encompass the riches and affluence of American culture as well as the down-to-earth farming and family roots that sprouted up in napa valley in the past century? Just ride up Highway 29 and see the beautiful facades on the wineries and imagine the wealth behind those walls.

You know the saying about how to make a million dollars in the wine business? start with $10 million.

There is a lot of wealth that has gravitated to napa valley and set up some of the finest wineries and created the finest wines in a short period of time. then imagine the grimy hands of the pioneers who first planted grapes on the valley floor, later on climbing the hills to find the best plots of land to settle upon and build a new life. they took a chance and created the impetus for others to follow.

You don’t have to wait for napa Cabernet to age – it is delicious and tasty at first glass. And, yes, there are many that will stand the test of time and will grow in stature and complexity. but, for the most part, you can drink it now.

We are a now culture, aren’t we? instantaneous messaging and information are at the tip of our fingers. it is also the most famous wine from the U.s. outside our borders. From russia to Hong Kong, there are waiting lists for napa Cabernets. they command big dollars on the auction market and are certainly status symbols on more tables than just our own. so if you were an alien that knew nothing about our culture and you tasted a bottle of napa valley Cabernet sauvignon, would you get all that?

The American culture is too hard to distill down into one bottle. but i’d say that’s pretty darn close. recommendations: 2009 Chateau de Lascaux ($16) this is a real treat. syrah blended with Grenache from the south of France, this wine boasts lots of deep fruit, herbs and spices. it is warm and friendly. 2009 isabel estate Sauvignon Blanc ($18) this is one of the few estate and family grown and bottled sb’s in Marlborough and it’s one of my new finds. it sings with fruit and is so relaxing you will want to share it over and over again with friends.