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United States

American wine lovers have plenty of reasons to buy close to home—almost any type of wine they desire is now produced here in the United States. In fact, perhaps surprisingly, in a list of wine—producing nations, the U.S. ranks fourth from the top, trailing only Italy, France, and Spain.

Exciting things are happening all over the U.S. Here's the current state of the states.

California: Although other states have done a remarkable job of playing catch—up, California remains the nation's wine champion. Stellar wines from transplanted French and Italian varieties, including favorites such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Sangiovese, have been key to California's success—along with a grape long thought to be indigenous, Zinfandel. (As it turns out, Zin actually has its roots in Croatia and Italy.) In addition to California's many famous names, watch for an increasing number of wines from lesser—known varieties such as Mourvèdre and Viognier.

Washington: Washington is fertile ground for big, powerful reds—particularly Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlots from the Walla Walla region figure among the best. A widening range of whites from grapes such as Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Semillon, and Chardonnay also are worth exploring.

Oregon: Pinot Noir has a reputation for being one of the most difficult wine grapes to grow. Yet, in Oregon it seems to have found a natural home, where it consistently produces world—class wines. Also check out the sensational white, Pinot Gris.

Other states: Excellent wines are bursting onto the scene from a number of places, including Idaho, New York, Virginia, Missouri and Texas.

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