NAPA VALLEY AND THE TYPES OF WINES THAT COME FROM THERE
by Jeremy Black on Apr 14, 2023
Napa Valley AVA (or Napa Valley American Viticultural Area, recognized since January 28, 1981) is a wine-growing region in Napa County, California , United States, and is part of the transregional North Coast AVA. Due to the Mediterranean climate, wines thrive in Napa Valley, have been among the world's best since the 1960s and is mainly made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Chardonnay grapes. Many well-known winemakers are based in Napa Valley. In 1861, Charles Krug , who came from Prussia, set up the first commercial winery in St Helena. After various setbacks, such as the phylloxera catastrophe and the alcohol ban, the outstanding performance of some wines by the Paris wine jury in 1976 was able to give the area new impetus.
For Martin Kössler & Dunja Ulbricht, quality in wine is a value that has as little to do with image, name, label and taste clichés as it does with the unspeakable »price-performance ratio. « A wine is only qualitatively valuable, regardless of its price, if it brings the philosophy and the standards of its winemaker to the glass through his work in the vineyard and cellar in a sensually comprehensible individuality. »Wein Radically Different« wants to make it possible to experience authentic craftsmanship in wine, away from organic and natural wine dogmas, industrial ideologies and the industry's lies, without superlatives and linguistic exaggerations. Prerequisite: Only living soil and vital vines can nourish their berries, so their wine does not have to be "corrected" chemically or physically in the cellar. We are therefore particularly interested in wines
The valley is flanked to the west and north by the Mayacamas Mountains and to the east by the Vaca Mountains. The valley rises slowly from San Pablo Bay in the south at sea level to 110 meters above sea level at Calistoga at the foot of Mount Saint Helena in the Mayacamas Mountains. Oakville and Rutherford lie practically in the middle of the valley that follows the Napa River.
Sedimentary soils predominate in the south of the valley, deposited during some periods of flooding of the Bay of San Pablo. On the other hand, there are soils of volcanic origin in the north.
Several Factors influence the Climate Of Napa Valley:
The closer a location is to the Pacific, the cooler it gets. Daytime temperatures can be almost 0.5°C warmer inland than on the coast.
Cuts in the parallel mountain ranges of the California Coast Ranges allow cool morning fog and cooling ocean breezes to penetrate locally inland. This effect explains why the southern Los Carneros AVA is cooler than areas further north.
The east side of the valley is significantly drier than the west, as winter storms from the interior tend to rain down on the western slopes.
Napa Valley has 4.7 million overnight guests who come for wine tourism. This makes the wine-growing region behind Disneyland one of California's most popular tourist attractions. Hwy 29 and the Silverado Trail to the east are popular feeders to various famous wineries.
Napa Valley has sub-zones that can be identified on labels:
- Atlas Peak AVA
- Chile's Valley AVA
- Diamond Mountain District AVA
- Howell Mountain Ava
- Los Carneros AVA
- Mt Veeder AVA
- Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley AVA
- Oakville AVA
- Rutherford AVA
- Spring Mountain District AVA
- St. Helena AVA
- Stags Leap District AVA
- Wild Horse Valley AVA
- Youngsville AVA
Wine From The USA
The USA is an established wine nation and is particularly popular and well-known for Californian wines because California is an important part of American viticulture. Quantity, but above all quality, has developed rapidly for the wines from the USA, and the wine production offers red wines and white wines with finesse and elegance. Discover and enjoy these United States wines from Napa Valley, Oregon and more.
Wine Production In The Napa Valley
Napa Valley is a small, narrow flat spot in the middle of mountainous terrain in Northern California. It is surrounded by mountains on two sides and extends 45 km to the north. The climate at the ends of this narrow strip is radically different: it is cold in the south, and Pacific fogs are constantly creeping there. In the north, it is hot. The best wines are produced in the middle, where all the conditions for productive winemaking are created.
Considering geographical features, the entire territory of Napa Valley is divided into several appellations (in the USA, these are AVA zones). First, the largest zone stands out - AVA Napa Valley, then AVA Rutherford, AVA Oakville and AVA St. Helena follow in order of importance. Next are Calistoga, Napa and Yountville, Atlas Peak, Howell Mountain, Chiles Valley and Pope Valley. Separately, it is worth highlighting the areas where vineyards are planted at an altitude of over 600 m above sea level: Spring Mountain, Mount Veeder and Diamond Mountain. Here, premium wines from Cabernet Sauvignon are produced: concentrated and full-bodied.
Interestingly, there are no large factories in Napa Valley; all wineries are either small or medium. Most wineries are small family businesses with their vineyards. Some farmers are exclusively engaged in the cultivation of grapes, which are then sold to winemakers.
Local producers have been looking for a middle ground for a long time before creating the perfect wine: not thick, which can be cut with a knife, but not skinny, watery either. Initially, winemakers tried to make the bouquet as bright and saturated as possible, so they used new oak barrels. However, the climate of Napa and the soil composition already provided the drink with the necessary density, body and aromatics, and prolonged contact with fresh oak only led to the fact that the bouquet turned out to be too heavy and ultra-ripe. After numerous experiments, it became clear that only old barrels are ideal for creating light wines with soft aromas.
Types of wines that come from Napa Valley:
Napa Valley is known for its two main international varieties: red Cabernet Sauvignon and white Chardonnay. Since the soil and climate are different along the entire length of the valley (over 30 types of soils of different origins), these varieties are made from different wines in different terroirs. You can find a young and light Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa with a bright, fruity taste, and sometimes this wine is deep, very tannic, and tart. Aged wines are usually mild with a characteristic cedar aroma, a "classic," especially if you know the region's successful harvest years.
The best Napa Cabernet Sauvignon wines are considered to come from AVA Rutherford, AVA Oakville and AVA Mount Veeder. In the valley, nearly 45% of the area is allocated for this grape variety.
Local Chardonnay sometimes turns out to be oily with a discouraging set of aromas: notes of fig, lychee, melon and peach are present in the bouquet, and a bright oaky tone completes the symphony. However, on the international market, another white wine from Napa Valley is more appreciated: smoky, strict, dry, which smells of toasted toast, always aged in oak.
Now other varieties of grapes are gaining popularity. The cool climate in the valley's south produces excellent and elegant Pinot Noirs with a bright, fruity aroma. Unlike its New Zealand competitors, the local Sauvignon Blanc surprises not with a currant leaf but with its density with hints of oak. Sweet wines with a touch of noble mold are produced in the Napa Valley from Riesling, unlike German here. In addition to these famous varieties, Zinfandel, Merlot, Sangiovese and Petit Cyr are grown in the north of the valley, where it is warmest, from which aromatic fruit wines are made.
Some wines from Napa Valley are:
- FIST, Faust Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 (750 ml)
- FRANK FAMILY VINEYARDS, Frank Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2018 (750 ml)
- SEQUOIA GROVE, Sequoia Grove Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2019 (750ml)
- BUENA VISTA, Buena Vista Chateau Buena Vista Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2019 (750 ml)
- DUCKHORN VINEYARDS, Duck Horn Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2019 - 750 ml
- HONEY, Honey Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2019 (750 ml)
- STAGS LEAP WINERY, Stags' Leap Winery Napa Valley Chardonnay 2020 (750ml)
- DUCKHORN VINEYARDS, Decoy Limited Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 (750ml)
- QUILT, Quilt Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 (750 ml)
- LOUIS MARTINI, Louis Martini Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 (750ml)