As our American cousins hunker down to enjoy the holiday season, we thought we would take the opportunity to talk of the founding fathers. Not the men themselves but our ranges of Federalist and Freemark Abbey wines.
Federalist Wines pay homage to America’s Founding Fathers, bold men of principle whose pioneering spirit helped shape America. The wines are bold, fruity and intense. For those who are familiar with the range, you will not be disappointed with the latest additions, for those of you who are unfamiliar, you are in for a treat. We now have a silky Chardonnay, rich in lemon curd and pear with gently cardamom spice and a creamy finish. For the reds, we have the ‘George Washington’ Zinfandel which is insanely rich, unctuous and moreish. We then have the Cabernet which is brooding with dark fruits and spice. Last but not least, the ‘Honest Red Blend’ where Merlot, Zinfandel and Cabernet harmonise in this deliciously spicy, plum number.
Freemark Abbey, a separate range of impressive US wines can be said to have founded the modern image of American wines. It was meant to just be a wine tasting, but the Judgement of Paris became a day of historical importance when the Californian wines topped every category. Although California and the Napa Valley had a good reputation, this really put the Cabernets and Chardonnays of the region on the world map.
Freemark Abbey wines, which are new to the list this year, were probably some of the most important wines at the tasting. They were the only winery to have both a red and a white representing California, and it is recorded that when one of the judges tasted the 1972 Chardonnay they stated: “Ah, back to France.”
Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happyBy Benjamin Franklin
The Judgement of Paris took place on the 24th of May 1976. Organised by Steven Spurrier, who at the time owned a wine shop in Paris, it was an event inspired by the American Bicentenary. It pitted famous reds from Bordeaux (so mainly Cabernet-based blends) and whites from Burgundy (Chardonnay), against Cabernets and Chardonnays from California. The idea was that all wines were tasted blind, and then the results decided by each Judge scoring the wine out of 20. Of the eleven judges, all were French except for Steve Spurrier (British) and Patricia Gallagher (American); their votes were discounted, so it rested purely on French shoulders.
Five years later in 1981, the tasting was repeated between the best Bordeaux reds and Californian Cabernets. In this tasting, the Freemark Abbey Single Vineyard Bosche 1974 was voted the top wine, putting the 1970 Lafite Rothschild into second place.
They were chosen to take part because of their elegant signature style of Cabernet and Chardonnay. With that in mind, I urge you to try the Chardonnay, which is a blend from 4 top Napa sites and has gentle French oak influences, resulting in a wine which has subtle orchard and tropical fruit aromas, interlaced with delicate toast and spice.
You then have 3 Cabernet Sauvignons to choose from starting with the multi-vineyard Cabernet up to the 2 single vineyard options of Sycamore and Bosché. The first two are a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot, the latter a blend of Cabernet and Merlot. Sycamore is slightly more feminine and linear and Bosché more masculine and more voluptuous, both are delicious. Then you can move on to the impressive Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot.
One of the many things that is already great about America is its superb wines! It doesn’t stop with the Federalist and Freemark Abbey ranges either, there are the fantastic east coast wines of Dr Konstantin Frank and the Santa Barbara stunners of Sanford and Meiomi, not to mention Chimney Rock in Stags Leap north of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
You can find more information about our range of American wines we stock here. If you want to stock any of the wines mentioned, click here to place an order online now, or here to request an account with us; and don’t forget we’re here to support you with everything you need to ensure that your wine range is a success, from free menu design and print services to staff training.