U.S. Wine Regions & Terroirs to Know
To get a pulse on where the best American wine regions rest, look no further than the collaborative efforts at State of Mind wines.
Hey, what do you get when you put a group of vintners, sommeliers, and winery veterans together? A bit of mixed opinions, but a lot of deliciously blended wines.
Inspired by their travels, State of Mind is a collaborative process of co-creating wines with growers and vineyard owners around the country. Their goal: to capture the best traits of each region and bottling it up for your pleasure. Screw the competitive nature that vineyards have in vying for bottle sales. Collaboration is the magic ingredient to the future of American winemaking.
State of Mind has four inaugural wines that come from the Washington, Oregon, and California regions. But what do those three regions bring to each bottle of wine? And why are these even popular wine regions in the first place? Let’s dig in a bit deeper and start with the most notable one, Napa Valley.
California, Napa Valley
Although many know the name, most don’t understand the reasons for why Napa Valley is well regarded as a top location for wines. It might sound absurd, but Napa contains nearly half of the soil types that exist on earth. With limited rainfall—and a combination of unique components—wonderful grapes flourish from season to season and embody a traditional, Napa Valley blend.
Only 30 miles long and a few miles wide, Napa Valley's heightened elevation is a perfect mix of climate regions ideal for growing many types of grapes. In particular, hot days infuse a rich flavor ideal for Cabernets. The ocean breeze cools the nights while the early morning fog rolls in to give the vines a break from the heat.
State of Mind has collaborated with Hudson Vineyard in the rolling hills of Carneros in the southernmost region of Napa Valley to bring you their Chardonnay.
Our wine from Hudson Vineyard expresses its cool climate, incredibly rich soils, and sunny exposure showing freshness and intensity.
Tucked in the catacombs of Coombsville, you'll find State of Mind's next California collaboration with Caldwell Vineyard. Just below the AVA line, and up-valley, is one of their favorite sub-regions: Diamond Mountain. This site still benefits from the Napa runoff, bringing in "electric blue fruit and cool earth elements." Underground, the wines age for twenty months in New French Oak and Tonnellerie Taransaud barrels.
Cabernet Sauvignon wines show the elegance and raw beauty of the region. It is structured but packed with dark fruits and spice. The backbone of this wine is its fresh acidity and fine tannins.
Oregon, Willamette Valley
Another Pacific Northwest staple is the Willamette Valley region, the largest concentration of wineries and vineyards in Oregon. It spans over 19,000 acres and 500+ wineries and is dominated by Pinot Noir vines, but Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Riesling are also fan favorites.
With a mild and cool climate year round, Willamette Valley is a mix of "Mediterranean and oceanic influences." Winters are marked with cool rain. Summers are warm and moist, creating an ideal condition for Pinot Noir. Volcanic and sedimentary soils give the wines an earthy, herbal characteristic like black cherries.
In Oregon, State of Mind partnered with LS Vineyard, a beautiful estate located in the coolest sub-AVA territory of Willamette Valley. It's a collaborative effort between Master Sommelier Larry Stone of LS, a top-notch Burgundy winemaker, and Michael Kennedy from State of Mind. They've been able to create a classic flavor that they describe as intense, elegent, and expressive.
Made in a combination of vessels: concrete, French oak puncheon and oak fermenters. This varied vessel fermentation, along with the roughly 20% whole cluster inclusion allows us to create a layered, diversely textured wine with freshness and fruit that last.
Washington, Yakima Valley
Spanning only 70 miles, the Yakima Valley is home to more than 120 wineries and 17,000+ acres of vineyards. Half of Washington's wine grapes come from this region's high-desert climate and well-drained, volcanic soils. With hot days and cooler nights, the Yakima foothills and Columbia regions provide the ideal conditions for complex wines such as Riesling, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Syrah.
In the Northern part of Yakima AVA, at the heart of the Columbia Valley, you'll find the Zillah Ranch Vineyard. It was one of the first growers in Washington—dating back to 1880—and a truly perfect collaborative locale for State of Mind.
The Zillah vineyard is nestled on an ancient river bed formed by "cobblestone and calcareous soils, producing laser-focused and electric Riesling wines with a balance of mineralilty and fruit." The soils are a mix between sandy river stones, limestone, and calcium sub-soils.
The soils are raised riverbed with calcerous + cobblestones. This site produced super juicy Riesling with striking freshness, yet a depth to last for years.
California, Washington, and Oregon all add their unique twist on wine that starts with the soil, infuses in the grapes, and matures during the fermentation process. The distinct flavors of each region bubble to the top with State of Mind wines. So plan a road trip or order a few bottles online. See if you can tell a wine apart just on its region.