Washington vs. California wine country
“Perimeter wines are handcrafted to push the boundaries of winemaking.” You will find this statement on the back label of every wine we make. At Perimeter Wines, we are constantly discovering the nuances of each varietal grape we use and pushing past the limits of winemaking to produce high-quality, complex wines vintage after vintage. The result is a delicious portfolio of Washington AND California red and white wines, sure to please any palate.
Though vastly different in certain aspects, both California and Washington wine countries are front-runners in American winemaking and share some attributes, key to growing delicious varietal grapes. Both are arid desert climates with very limited rainfall. Because of this, a majority of California and Washington’s vineyards use irrigation to maintain consistent and constant growth. This allows winemakers to strategically stress the vines and coax the fruit into producing complex flavors. Additionally, both regions have experienced warmer growing seasons in the past few years. These warmer climates have moved harvest times up – in some cases by a few weeks – creating concentrated flavors and increasing final alcohol content. Both regions are also producing similar vinifera grapes, making it easy to see how each region’s terroir directly affects different varieties.
Throughout all of the similarities of these two regions, there are some key differences. California is known for its constant sunshine and warm weather and in terms of grape-growing, the fruit experiences consistently warm temperatures from day to night during the growing season. This causes sugar levels to rise quickly and remain high through harvest. This warm weather also allows the fruit to ripen faster than Washington, inducing an earlier harvest season, relatively.
California is by far the largest wine producer in the United States with Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot being its top three produced varietal grapes (in order). Typically, in California red wines like our Perimeter Cabernet Sauvignon and Perimeter Black Dark Red Blend, you will find darker berry flavors and bold, ripe tannins, making these excellent standalone wines. In whites, such as the Perimeter Chardonnay, you will discover bright, tropical fruits as well as toasted oak and butter on the finish from oak aging.
Washington wine country, on the other hand, falls on a latitude similar to Bordeaux, experiencing a significant temperature shift from long, hot days to short, cool nights during the growing season. This diurnal swing allows the fruit to rest a night and ripen gradually, producing more complex flavors and softer tannins.
The top vinifera grapes grown in Washington are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and Riesling. As the second largest wine region in the United States, Washington is known for its bold, palate-pleasing red wines and complex, round white wines. In the Perimeter Merlot and Perimeter Red Blend from Washington state, you will find wines that are fruit forward, complex and easy to pair with your favorite dish. In the realm of Washington white wines, you can try our Perimeter Riesling, which is layered with tree fruit flavors, full body and crisp acidity.
There are many factors that come into play when making a delicious wine, growing region being one of the most important. At Perimeter Wines, we believe that every region adds distinctive character to each of our wines and the best way to discover what makes California and Washington unique is to taste for yourself. Use this tasting sheet to taste through your favorite Perimeter wines and see if you notice the differences!
Today’s guest post is submitted by Perimeter Wines.