Pete Stewart and Andy Gemmell
On Thanksgiving weekend, it would be remiss of me to talk about anything other than American wine. America has had a particularly chequered past in terms of winemaking. Almost every country in the world can cite wartime influences, depression and phylloxera vastatrix as having a negative effect on their wine production. Only America had all of those things and prohibition.
From 1920 until 1933 the sale and consumption of alcohol was banned in America. Wineries were forced to close, and buildings were torn down and equipment destroyed. The only exceptions were the few wineries which were allowed to make communion wine. This resulted in the effective death of the industry, until the mid-1930s when Ernest and Julio Gallo set up their business. They now make around eighty million cases a year.
The Gallos, and others like them, breathed life back into the industry, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that the quality wines from California began to get noticed on a global scale.
The wines were world class which was proven at the Judgment of Paris tasting. This was a head to head blind tasting event where the best wines from France were put up against the New World pretenders. It was a contest that America was not supposed to win. But win they did. In the intervening years, America has gone from strength to strength and is currently producing an exciting selection of top-shelf treat wines.
Stags Leap Wine Cellars Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 (Majestic, £50). Stags Leap Wine Cellars won the Judgement of Paris in the red category with their SLV 1973. The Artemis is a magnificent Cabernet to enjoy with a medium rare fillet steak.
Ravenswood Lodi Zinfandel 2014 (Majestic, £14.99). Zinfandel has become America’s signature grape but can be quite inconsistent in terms of quality. You need a good producer like Ravenswood to ensure you get the best possible wine, it is also excellent value for money. Try it this weekend with venison. Cheers!
Pete Stewart is Glasgow director of Inverarity One to One, 185a Bath Street. www.inveraritymorton.com