A truly great vintage is a pleasure unlike any other, and you don't need to visit Bordeaux, France, or Marlborough, New Zealand, to sample stellar varietals. Check out three of North America's greatest winemaking regions:
Sonoma and Napa Counties are both well loved by wine drinkers, but Sonoma sometimes plays second fiddle to Napa. Since Sonoma has more than 400 wineries, divided into 17 distinct American Viticultural Areas, according to Sonoma County's official website, it deserves every bit as much acclaim.
Hanzell Vineyards, Jordan Winery, Arista Winery, and Iron Horse Vineyards all earned Wine Enthusiast's seal of approval, but don't sleep on Buena Vista Winery, the region's oldest vineyard, or the Benziger Family Winery, a visit to which is included in our California Wine Country walking tour.
For some, the Pacific Northwest is best known for grunge music and rainy weather, but wines from Washington state have recently caught national attention. Brands such as Charles Smith Wines fly off the shelves for their bold tastes and eye-catching labels (like Boom Boom Syrah). Known for his roles as Special Agent Dale Cooper on Twin Peaks and the bumbling mayor of Portlandia, Washington-born actor Kyle MacLachlan also produces wine. His Pursued By Bear cabernet sauvignon regularly earns 90-plus ratings from Wine Spectator.
The lower-profile wineries accessible from our Washington: Olympic Peninsula walking tour are just as worthy of wine-lovers' attention. The peninsula's temperate-rainforest climate lends a unique complexity to the region's award-winning wines and ciders. Check out Harbinger Winery, Camaraderie Cellars, and Marrowstone Vineyards to get started.
Just across the northern border of Washington, there's even more great wine to be had in British Columbia, Canada. On Vancouver Island alone, site of our British Columbia: Vancouver Island walking tour, there are 32 vineyards to explore. The island's climate and long growing season prove most favorable to pinot gris, ortega, and siegerrebe varietals, but you'll also find producers of pinot noir, as well as the fairly uncommon marechal foch red.
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