memories of RT 29 & The Silverado Trail

Joined Jul 31, 2000
Next Stop Napa Valley.

I was able to give my client a very detailed portfolio on her Italian wines. I would like to thank everyone who helped me with my research.

So now, it’s Napa Valley.
She has a very impressive collection of Napa wines; almost all are Cabernet sauvingnons
Examples are; and most are verticels.

Hietz, Marthas Vineyard
Phelps Insignia
Dalla Valle
Chateau Montelena
Berigers reserves
And many more.

I thought I would try to break down the three major zones in Napa and use this as a focal point to illastrate her wines, another words, why do some wines take on specific charartoristics and how this coiensides with the zones climates.

I have a few people in mind I wanted to highlight for her regarding the early years of Napas success, like Charles Krug, Karl Wente and Jacob & Frederick Beriger who built the Rhine house where I studied.
(Does anyone else have any ideas about the early years? I am talking 1860 or so)

Also, any thoughts in regards to why you think (or not) that Napa Valley is making this countries finest wines?

Soil, drainage, vine stressing, microclimates?

TIA for any help

Joined Jul 2, 2001
while I agree that Napa produces SOME of the finest wines available, I think it goes back to personnal taste and what you look for in a wine. For example, If you are looking for a big butterery Chardonnay I think you would be hard pressed to beat either the Edna Valley or the Cambria Winery Chardonnays. The Zins of Almador county are another.
I think that all the reasons you listed are important with weighted importantance on soil and micro-climates also the winemakers themselves. Because Napa has enjoyed a good reputation for so long now they get the some of the best makers and appentices. The same grape in three sets of hands can often yeild three different results. But that is just my opinion.
Joined Jul 31, 2000

I couldn't agree with you more. It is indeed the soil and climate that makes the wine, I believe more so than the winemaker himself/herself.

It should be obviuos that there can never be a uniform Napa style, If only on account of the derversity of climate conditions. When the amazing variety of soils in the area are taken into consideration, it becomes clear that the topogaphy and weather merly help to underline the individuality of the different producers (which you mentianed in your post). As far as Napa's soil is concerned, there is just one , very important characteristic (Ithink anyway) it drains very well, which prevents the ground from getting waterlogged, something that have terrible consequences for planted vines.In many places it can be attributed to the loose, gravelly , meager soil structure. Although the hills to the east and west are of volcanic origin.
The ocean that once covered napa has also left it's legacy of deposit that makes up the over 60 types of soil in the valley.

Napa is the word for Plenty in the language of the native americans who used to live in Napa. The lower valley where the county town is located, is more then 4 miles wide. Here the flat, easily cultivated valley floor is densly planted with vineyards (what a view)and supplys the majority of grapes. However the most famous Terriors extend along it's weatern edge on the sloping terrices origanally formed by the river. North of St Helena (my favorite town) the valley norrows to only 1 mile wide before widning to just over 2 miles near Calistoga.
In combination with the differences of aspect,altitude, and soil structre in parts of Napa, the areas distintive climate has created more or less clearly marked charateristics in the wines produced there. This has aloud for the formation of over 20 sud A.V.A.s. thier borders do not always meet with the approvel from the wineries involed, so sometimes these matters are treated pretty freely.

Latest posts

Top Bottom