On thanksgiving weekend, it would be remiss of me to talk about anything other than American wine. America has had a particularly chequered past in terms of winemaking. Almost every country in the world can cite wartime influences, depression and the devastating phylloxera vastatrix as having a negative effect on their wine production. Only America had all of those things and prohibition.

From 1920 until 1933 the sale and consumption of alcohol was banned in America. Wineries were forced to close, and in many cases the buildings were torn down and equipment destroyed. The only exceptions were the few wineries who were allowed to make communion wine. This clearly resulted in the effective death of the industry. At least until the mid-30’s when Ernest and Julio Gallo set up their business. They now make around eighty million cases a year.

The Gallos, and others like them, breathed life back into the industry, but it wasn’t until the seventies that the quality wines from California (in particular) began to get noticed on a global scale. The wines were world class which was proven at the Judgment of Paris tasting. This was a head to head blind tasting event where the best wines from France were put up against the new world pretenders. It was a contest that America was not supposed to win. But win they did.

In the intervening years, America has gone from strength to strength and is currently producing an exciting selection of top-shelf treat wines which still give the old world equivalents a run for their money.

Stags Leap Wine Cellars Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 (Majestic, £50). Stags Leap Wine Cellars won the Judgement of Paris in the red category with their SLV 1973. The Artemis is a magnificent Cabernet to be enjoyed with a medium rare fillet steak.

Ravenswood Lodi Zinfandel 2014 (Majestic, £14.99). Zinfandel has become America’s signature grape but can be quite inconsistent in terms of quality. You need a good producer such as Ravenswood to ensure you get the best possible wine in your glass. This one is also excellent value for money. Try it this weekend with venison. Cheers!