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The North American Inquirer

Following the steps of the ever popular Italian Inquirer, set up by Taffy-On-Tour, I noticed that there isn’t a similar thread for North American wines. Having lived in the US for over a decade and visited a few of its wine-producing regions, I thought we could kick-off a discussion thread here.

My initial post is to guide you two of wine-writers I have followed for many years: Lettie Teague and Karen MacNeil

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And Canada ?

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Well, I used North American instead of United States, so we can cover the whole continent.

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And I do have a soft spot for Canadian icewines, but never got any deeper in to it.

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Thanks for starting this thread Andre,

I’m starting from a position of near-total ignorance of North American wine. I have always been a bit wary of their pricing and assume I can normally find better value elsewhere. Their domestic pricing seems quite high so when the wine makes its way over here, with all the costs that entails my instinctive reaction is to suck air through my teeth and look again at many other places with cheaper wine.

Having said that, I’ve had a couple of vintages of the Lemelson Pinot noir (the only wine from USA I’ve bought from TWS) that I really enjoyed, so maybe it’s time to reconsider. Suggestions please.

I wasn’t that inspired by their websites, not a lot of content there. Is it their books that you rate or media journalism?

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Regretfully (I imagine due to price) very little Canadian wine seems to reach these shores - which is a shame, although TWS do have a Riesling which might go in my basket. The last bottle I bought in 2016 was a superb Pinot Noir from Niagara, where the microclimate is highly suited to P.N. (I spent a week or so there once)

If anyone can suggest a UK merchant offering Canadian P.N. for under £25 I’d be grateful!

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Totally agree - really enjoyed that one. Hopefully it will grace TWS’s books again soon.

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the 2016 is on sale right now

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I thought the title of such threads should alliterate?

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Perhaps like the New World, it’s trying to break the mould… :grinning:

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Ooh, Don’t mention “his” wines, you may get lynched. There’s also been some controversy of late about Karen Mc Neill, I’ll need to go dig it out.
I’m with @Brocklehurstj, lots of wine especially on the West Coast are only available if you are a member of their “wine club”, you then pay through the nose to access these wines which i am assuming is why we see so little wine from the USA particularly.

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Gossip! Controversies! Marvellous, do spill the beans :pleading_face:

Edit: Uurgh, just googled Norman Hardie, maybe the less beans the better

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Yeah, sounds like he was a bit too keen on spilling his beans.

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TWS rightly dropped his wines like a hot potato when that story broke.

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It’d be great if they could find something similar from that neck of the woods though, as that was a lovely pinot and it can’t be the only good one coming from Niagara.

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I do a fair bit of Canadian travel, so I’ve had the chance to try a few Canadian wines. A couple of recommendations if anyone wants to try them - though sadly not available from TWS.

I was recommended Osoyoos Larose by a friendly assistant in the wine shop next to my hotel in Vancouver - from memory, it was about $50/bottle, and thankfully survived the flight back in my suitcase! Opened it during lockdown and it was excellent, needed a little time in the glass but thoroughly enjoyable.

The other one I’d love to try again was a Charles Baker Riesling from the Niagara region, which I was served in a Toronto restaurant back in 2015. I had the 2012, but obviously you’d be looking for something a bit more recent. Absolutely top-drawer, and it looks like it’s continued to win awards.

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Lettie writes a weekly column for the WSJ. I liked the one covering women winemakers in the USA as I’ve met some myself - the owner of Viader and the winemaker at Arns - and they were all incredibly fascinating people.

Karen wrote the Wine Bible, which is required reading if you are taking the Master Somm exams. I have both editions, and they are covered in stains and folded pages. I really like it, but everyone’s taste in different.

From Karen’s website, I particularly like WineSpeed and “Wines To Know”.

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I haven’t heard any controversy that Karen has been involved. There was this, but I believe it doesn’t qualify as such. Enlighten me please!

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The whole Finger Lakes region produces impressive examples of German varietals.

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The few Canadian pinot’s I’ve tried have really impressed, often low in alcohol, individual in style but with plenty of pinotosity ( that’s me off to pedants’ corner ). The Niagara Chardonnay’s I’ve tried were equally expressive and individual.

An entry level 2016 pinot from Closson Creek, in nearby Prince Edward County, certainly grabbed my attention too. It wasn’t particularly expensive either ( £18 ). And only 12.3% ABV.

From the other side of Canada, the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia has a good rep too. I’ve only tried one, another entry level wine, from Meyer Family Vineyards ( 13.5% ABV ), from M&S and discounted form £20 to £13, was every bit as good.

So yeah, I’d like to see more too. However, single vineyard wines are often twice the price, sometimes more, than the ones I mentioned, mind.

Edit - with regard to Pedants’ Corner, apologies for the appalling punctuation !

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