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Wines of California

The first vineyards in the United States of America were established at the end of the 17th century, and winegrowing began to develop intensively only by the end of the 18th century, after importing seedlings from France, Italy, Hungary and Germany, but the European vine did not survive under unusual conditions. The way out seemed to suggest itself - crossing the local vine with a foreign one. Hybrids got accustomed, it was possible to produce wine from their fruits. This is how the first American grape varieties suitable for wine making appeared. Among them are Concord, Skupernong, Delaware, Catouba, Isabella and Norton.

In the middle of the XIX century in America began the period of the "gold rush". Among the gold miners there were many European winemakers who realized that it was faster and easier to get rich by selling wine to gold miners. So, along with the "gold rush" in California began the "wine fever."

At the end of the XIX century there was an invasion of phylloxera. Then, in the second decade of the 20th century, the “dry law” came into force, which caused significant damage to the country's winemaking.

In the second half of the 20th century, rapid progress in the development of American winemaking began. Huge investments in viticulture and winemaking, the use of modern technology (including to combat night frosts), the increased interest in wine on the part of Americans - all this underlies the phenomenal breakthrough in the development of US winemaking.

In 1991, the United States reached the fourth place in the world in terms of the amount of wine produced. Today, under the vineyards in the United States employs more than 350 thousand hectares of land. Now the export of American wine exceeds 300 million bottles a year.

In the US, mainly European varieties are cultivated.

Red varieties

- Cabernet Sauvignon - the king of the red varieties, including in California.

In 1976, at a comparative tasting of Californian and French wines, organized by journalist Stefan Spourier in Paris, the Californian Cabernet Sauvignon gained a special triumph.

Cabernet Sauvignon wines produced in California have a full, powerful and long-lasting aroma with tones of blackberry, cherry and other dark fruits. Many of these wines, which have an unusually dense structure, outstanding tannins and excellent acidity, can last for 10-15 years or more. Most of the so-called "iconic" Californian wines are Cabernet.

- Zinfandel

This is one of the most versatile grape varieties in the world. From it produce wines, the most diverse in their style.

With a slight exposure, the wine will receive only a small amount of tannins, it will be quite drinkable and will retain its fresh berry aroma and medium body.

From Zinfandel can also be made and more powerful wine, subject to long-term exposure. Such wines conserve the berry aroma characteristic of Zinfandel, but acquire wealth, pomp of the bouquet and full-bodiedness.

- Pinot Noir

This is one of the oldest grape varieties known for two thousand years. He came to California in 1885.

The wines made from Pinot Noir are delicate and rich, with characteristic smoothness, attractive complexity and long aroma. This variety feels better in cool regions.

In the USA, the varieties Merlot, Barbera, Grenache, Carignan, Syrah and others are also grown.

White varieties

- Chardonnay

Chardonnay definitely deserves the title of queen among the white varieties.

In the US, Chardonnay is one of the most common white varieties. It is excellent in almost all coastal areas.

Most American Chardonnays are rich, intense fruit flavors of pear, apple, melon and peach, combined with oil and oak notes, but in California you can find samples that look more like the classic refined white wines of Burgundy.

- Colombar

This is the fourth most popular variety in winegrowers, mostly used to produce inexpensive wines for every day. It produces clean, simple wines with good acidity.

- Chenin Blanc

One of the oldest known grape varieties. US-grown grapes are used to produce inexpensive table wines.

Of the white varieties are also grown Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gevuytstraminer and others.

In the United States of America, as elsewhere, the appeals system is based on the geographical distinction between certain wine-producing regions.

In 1980, the official concept of the "wine-growing area" was adopted, and the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) established a naming (appeals) system.

In 1983, the United States Department of the Treasury established the American Viticultural Areas (AVA) system - “American Wine Districts” - and ordered winemakers to adhere to its rules.

Currently, there are 125 officially recognized BATF wine regions (AVA) in the United States, 71 of which are located in California.

In the United States there is no rigidly fixed wine classification, but the hierarchy of wines according to their quality and price can be represented as follows:

- Table wines.

These wines can be made from any grape variety grown in the United States.

- Local.

National law allows the use of certain names of European wine regions to designate local wines: Burgundy, Chablis, Chianti, Champagne, Rhine, Jerez and Port (these wines are consumed mainly in the domestic market).

- Controlled names (AVA) (regional, district, regional).

- Varietal or Varietal wines.

According to federal law, varietal wines must be produced at least 75% from the grape variety indicated on the label;

- Cured (Reserve).

This is a selection of the best varietal wine of a particular crop year, aged in oak barrels for a set time;

- Merittage.

These wines should be made exclusively from the traditional Bordeaux grape varieties:

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc - red

Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadel are white.

Vin Meritazh can only be the best wine of an enterprise of this type, and its production should be limited - no more than 25,000 boxes per year per enterprise.

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