The Napa Valley region of California is renowned for the beauty of the surroundings and some of the best restaurants in the United States – but of course, it is these factors combined with the fabulous quality of its wines that make it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the U.S. The Napa Valley punches way about its weight class as a wine producing region, given that it is one of the most petite winemaking regions in the entire world – approximately 30 miles long and five miles wide.
One of the reasons that Napa is so productive is the wide variety of terroirs that can be found in this small area. Aside from varying climatic conditions the soils types found in Napa are almost staggering in their variety. Studies indicate that Napa boasts 33 types of soil – and around 100 variations of these key types. This has led to the recognition of 16 different AVA’s in the region (‘American Viticultural Area’ – defined by their geography).
Although these different soils lend themselves to the production of a wide variety of wines there is one type of wine that is the undisputed king of the hill (or the Valley in this case) – and that is Cabernet Sauvignon. Strangely enough, the reputation of Napa wines was not originally built on Cab Sav – in the late 1800’s the wine grape that dominated the Napa Valley was Zinfandel – however, most of the old vines have now been removed and replaced by those which allow for the production of world-class Cabernet Sauvignon.
This is not to say that Napa is only known for its Cabs. There are a variety of other wines that are produced in Napa. Cabernet Sauvignon production is followed by other popular varieties such as Chardonnay, Merlot and Pinot Noir.
The Cabernet Sauvignon from this region is however truly recognized as world class. The mountainous and hilly regions of Napa such as those produced in the district of Stags Leap are characterized as intensely full-bodied and savory, with bold hints of pepper and a smoky character. The richness of the grapes, which are filled to the brim with fruit and berry flavors with mocha overtones characteristics that have placed Napa wines on the bucket lists of wine lovers across the globe.
It is interesting to note that although Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa re3cives the lion’s share of attention and accolades there are other wines which bear closer examination. A prime example being the Merlot’s which have their origins in the valley. Although they carry a price tag which is typically lower than the Cab Sav’s they can provide an exceptional experience – especially when aged in American Oak. However, one could easily lose oneself in the sheer variety of wines that are produced in Napa. In fact, other red wines such as Pinot Noir, Syrah, Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese, Petite Sirah and many others will all prove rewarding.
Napa wines have earned their reputation as world class. They regularly win international recognition for their depth and quality. Lose yourself in the Napa experience – it is a journey that will not be regretted.