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California, the golden state, is not the only American wine region living the dream at the moment. The boutique wineries of Oregon have been staking a claim of independence lately, with rather successful results. In fact, the elegance and finesse of the Pinots from the lush, fertile hills of the Willamette Valley have begun to rival New Zealand’s Central Otago and Chile’s Leyda Valley as the home of New World Pinot. The basalt iron-rich red soils of Oregon’s Dundee Hills offer equally interesting expressions of the Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris varieties.
Yet the USA’s sunshine capital is not quite ready to descend from its throne and California’s favourite wine regions continue to offer diversity and quality in abundance. The black humus soils of the extinct volcanic slopes of Edna Valley which produce Pinots and Chardonnays with a mineral twist, and the warm, misty Sacramento river delta where Chenin, Chardonnay and native Zinfandel develop roundness and complexity, both promise wine drinkers will be California dreaming for a long time yet.