Tag Archives: Top 15 Reasons to Visit Napa Valley California

Top 15 Reasons to Visit Napa Valley California

English: Vineyard in Napa Valley
English: Vineyard in Napa Valley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Napa valley vineyard and winery Franç...

Napa

There

are 15 subappellations in

Napa where you can

pamper your wine-loving inner

foodie.

In the world of wine, matching grapes with microclimates and soils is the key to effective business. In addition, those grapes always grow in the most beautiful places. The grape-growing locations provide plenty of incredible Vino con Vista touring and tasting opportunities for travel and wine tourism enthusiasts. Napa has more than 450 wineries and plenty of Tasting Rooms in about 30 miles. Take California State Route/Highway 29 along Napa Valley in one direction and return on the scenic Silverado Trail.

English: Napa_Valley_Photo_D_Ramey_Logan If us...
English: Napa_Valley_Photo_D_Ramey_Logan If used outside of Wikipedia please credit Photographer: D Ramey Logan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Napa_Valley_CA_Photo_D_Ramey_Logan
English: Napa_Valley_CA_Photo_D_Ramey_Logan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

English: Autumn in Napa Valley
English: Autumn in Napa Valley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Autumn is a beautiful time of year in the Napa Valley. Here are some of the Napa Valley regions (subappellations/AVAs (American Viticultural Areas) with distinct microclimates and terrain for you to visit. There are plenty of luxury hotels and resorts along the way including:

www.Bardessono.com

www.napariverinn.com

www.ranchocaymus.com

www.napavalleylodge.com

English: Vineyards in Napa Valley. Français : ...
English: Vineyards in Napa Valley. Français : Vignobles de la Napa Valley. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Approximate location of the Carneros AVA (red ...
Approximate location of the Carneros AVA (red box) in relation to San Pablo Bay. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Napa Valley
Napa Valley (Photo credit: Sarah_Ackerman)

Napa Valley is an appellation and it received its own AVA designation in 1981. It is California’s first recognized AVA and the second in the United States. Within the Napa Valley appellation, there are 15 subappellations, including: Atlas Peak, Calistoga, Chiles Valley District, Diamond Mountain District, Howell Mountain, Los Carneros, Mt. Veeder, Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley, Oakville, Rutherford, St. Helena, Spring Mountain District, Stags Leap District, Yountville and Wild Horse Valley.

Cabernet grapes growing in the vineyards of th...
Cabernet grapes growing in the vineyards of the Napa Valley winery of Opus One. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s a summary of the subappellations from the Wine Growers Association website:

Atlas Peak AVA

The California wine region of Atlas Peak in th...

Vineyards in the California wine region of Atl...

“Climate: Cool, mountain-influenced, with temperatures about 10 to 15°F cooler than the Valley floor in summer. Above the fog line, there is a low diurnal change, with summer temperatures rarely above 90°F (32.2°C). Elevation: 760 to 2600 ft (231m to 792m). Rainfall: 38 inches (96cm) annually. Soils: Volcanic in origin, with basaltic red color, shallow with limited water retention, so irrigation is often essential. Principal varieties & characteristics: Cabernet Sauvignon: Bright berry and cherry fruit, and more acidity than wines from Stags Leap District. Chardonnay: Crisp, floral, aromatic, with distinctive pear-mineral flavors and bright acidity.

Calistoga AVA

Calistoga Sunset IMG_1938
Calistoga Sunset IMG_1938 (Photo credit: Hen3k Hen3k)

California vineyard in Calistoga, Napa Valley

Climate: Warm to hot, depending upon time of year; lower humidity; summer temperatures peak to 90°F (32.2°C) and fall to low 50s°F (11°C), the result of marine air from the northwest; cool afternoon and evening breezes Elevation: 300 to 1200 ft (92 to 370m) Rainfall: 38 to 60 inches (96.5 to 150cm) annually Soils: Almost completely of volcanic origin, soils range from rocky, stony loam on the hillsides, to gravelly or cobbly loams on the alluvial fans, to heavier clay-silt soils in the valley center areas Principal varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Syrah, Petite Sirah

Chiles Valley District AVA

Climate: Fairly warmer summer days (mid-80°F plus/28.8 to 31°C), but due to higher elevation and summer fog at night, quite chilly at night (below 50°F/10°C). With colder winters and spring, as well as strong winds, harvest comes later than on valley floor at Oakville. Elevation: 800 to 1300 ft. (242 to 394m). Rainfall: 35 inches (88cm) annually. Soils: On the valley floor, primarily alluvial soils with silty-clay composition of marine origin, with good fertility. Hillsides show more clay-loam and stony-clay composition, mostly marine in origin, with some volcanic outcropping, and less fertility.

Principal varieties & characteristics: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc: Cabernets usually reveal a lush yet firm texture with good acidity, firm tannin and distinctive cherry-blackberry flavors. Merlot typically has vibrant black cherry flavors mixed with a touch of cocoa.

Coombsville AVA

Climate: Temperate climate moderated by near-proximity to the San Francisco Bay and the influences of marine air Elevation: Most vineyards are in the 100-500 foot (30-150 m) zone, though a small portion tops 1000 feet (300 m) Rainfall:  Average rainfall is 24.6 inches (62 cm) per year over the last 100 years Soils: Primarily weathered volcanic rock and alluvial deposits from the Vaca Range that surrounds the region

Principal varieties: Dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon on the hillsides with Merlot, Chardonnay, Syrah and Pinot Noir in the lower, cooler sites

Diamond Mountain District AVA

The California wine region Diamond Mountain Di...
The California wine region Diamond Mountain District AVA in Napa Valley. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Climate: Moderately warm temperatures with lower maximum temperatures and higher minimum temperatures than north Napa Valley floor, due to topography and altitude. Significantly cooler than valley floor near Calistoga, 50 to 95°F in growing season (10 to 32°C). Elevation: 400 to 2200 ft. (130 to 530m) Rainfall: 40 to 55 inches (135cm) annually. Soils: Residual uplifted soils of volcanic origin, often reddish and very fine-grained, even gritty in texture, composed of both weathered sedimentary and volcanic origin.

Principal varieties & characteristics: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc: firmly structured, rich and fairly tannic when young, with strong blackcurrant, mineral, and cedary flavors. Less supple and fleshy than valley or benchland wines, with good aging potential. Chardonnay: Full-bodied, yet revealing mineral, green apple-peach aromas with fairly firm acidity; less richly textured than valley floor wines.

Howell Mountain AVA

Climate: Similar to the facing Spring Mountain AVA, however slightly warmer and dryer overall due to strong afternoon sun influence. Fairly cool nights in both ranges and higher elevations help maintain good acidity. Elevation: 600 to 2200 ft (184 to 675m). Rainfall: 40 to 50 inches (125cm) annually. Soils: Predominantly volcanic, shallow and infertile. Drainage is high, fertility low.

Principal varieties & characteristics: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel: Powerful, firm, blackberry-currant flavors and often richly tannic, with excellent acidity for aging. Chardonnay, Viognier: Sinewy, firm and not as fruity as those of the valley floor, revealing more citrus and stone fruit flavors.

Los Carneros AVA

Climate: Cool, with prevailing marine winds from the San Pablo Bay and through the Petaluma Gap to the west. High temperatures during summer rarely exceed 80°F (27°C) with less diurnal range variation. Elevation: 15 to 400 ft. (4.6 to124 m) Rainfall: Lowest in Napa Valley: 18 to 24 inches (7.2 to 9.6cm) annually. Soils: Clay dominated, very shallow in general, with more loam and hillside alluvials in the northern section. Yields typically are restrained by the hard claypan subsoil, which prevents deep-rooting.

Principal varieties & characteristics: Chardonnay: minerally pear-apple and spice flavors. Merlot: sinewy and lightly herbal, with fine tannins and sleek structure. Pinot Noir: ripe cherry-cinnamon spice flavors with earthy notes.

Mount Veeder AVA

Climate: Cool to moderate, with most vineyards above the fog-line, meaning warmer nights and cooler days and less diurnal range than the valley floor. Typical mid-summer high temperatures about 85°F (30°C). Elevation: 600 to 2100 ft. (183 to 650m). Rainfall: 35 inches (87.5cm) annually. Soils: Sedimentary based, former seabed, shallow and generally well drained, as well as more acidic, with low fertility. Most have a sandy or sandy-loam texture.

Principal varieties & characteristics: Ageability is a hallmark of Mt. Veeder wines. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel: Low yields give red wines a firm, tannic structure with strong earth-berry aromas and rich, but powerful flavors. Chardonnay: minerally, appley, even citrus flavors with good acidity.

Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley AVA

Climate: Moderate to cool: marine air and fog can remain until mid-morning. Late afternoon breezes frequently occur, maintaining slightly cooler temperatures than upper valley. Mid-summer temperatures may reach 92° F (33.3°C) and drop to around 50°F (10°C) at night. Elevation: sea level to 800 feet (244m) Rainfall: 36 inches (90cm) annually. Soils: The valley’s largest alluvial fan formed by Dry Creek creates the defining feature of the district. The northwest area is composed of volcanically derived soils, with stony or gravelly consistency. South and east areas are transitional from gravel to silty clay loam.

Principal varieties & characteristics: Merlot, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon benefit from a longer growing season with slightly cooler temperature, though crop size is typically less than in other AVAs. Elegant style is the common note with fruit flavors of cassis, tobacco and spice typical to Bordeaux-style reds. Chardonnay showcases flavors of crisp apple, mineral notes and tropical fruit with fine acidity.

Oakville AVA

Turnbull Wine Cellars, Oakville, California, USA
Turnbull Wine Cellars, Oakville, California, USA (Photo credit: jimg944)
Turnbull Wine Cellars, Oakville, California, USA
Turnbull Wine Cellars, Oakville, California, USA (Photo credit: jimg944)

Climate: Moderately warm, with temperatures commonly in the mid-90°F (34-35.5°C) range in high summer, but also still strongly affected by night and early morning fog which helps keep acidity levels good. East side of the AVA receives more of warmer afternoon sun. Elevation: 75 to 500 ft (23 to 150m). Rainfall: 35 inches (87.5cm) annually. Soils: Primarily sedimentary gravelly alluvial loams on the western side, with more volcanic but heavier soils on the eastern side. Low to moderate fertility and fairly deep, with average water retention.

Principal varieties & characteristics: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot: Ripe currant and mint flavors, rich texture and full, firm structure tempered by rich fruit. Sauvignon Blanc: Full, steely, yet very fleshy.

Rutherford AVA

Climate: Moderately warm, still marginally influenced by early morning fog. Western bench area is cooler, with less late afternoon sun, tempered by afternoon marine winds. (This AVA averages a bit warmer than Oakville and Stags Leap District). Usual summer peak temperatures are mid-90°F (34-35.5°C) with good diurnal range. Elevation: 100 to 500 ft. (33 to 150m). Rainfall: 38 inches (95cm) annually. Soils: Western benchland is sedimentary, gravelly-sandy and alluvial, with good water retention and moderate fertility. The eastern side has more volcanic soils, moderately deep and more fertile.

Principal varieties & characteristics: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel: Quite intense cherry and mineral, almost earthy aromas. Flavors are full, ripe, and notably currant with firm, but supple tannins for extended aging.

Spring Mountain District AVA

harvest 2005 Spring Mountain District above th...

Climate: Similar to Mt. Veeder AVA, with cool weather prevailing and smaller diurnal changes. Fairly cool nights and higher elevations help maintain good acidity. Elevation: 600 to 2200 ft (184 to 675m). Rainfall: 40 to 50 inches (125cm) annually. Soils: Primarily sedimentary; weathered sandstone/shale, loamy and friable in texture. Drainage is high, fertility low.

Principal varieties & characteristics: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel: Powerful, firm, blackberry-currant flavors and often richly tannic, with excellent acidity for aging. Chardonnay, Viognier: Sinewy, firm and not as fruity as those of the valley floor, revealing more citrus and stone fruit flavors.

St. Helena AVA

English: Fall in Napa Valley
English: Fall in Napa Valley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Climate: Warm, due to greater protection from western hills, with less fog or wind incursions. The narrowing of the valley floor provides more heat reflection off the hillsides. Mid-summer temperature peak is often in the mid- to high-90°F range (34 to 35°C). Elevation: 150 to 600 ft. (46 to 185m). Rainfall: 38 to 40 inches (95 to 100cm) annually. Soils: South and west borders are more sedimentary, gravel-clay soils, with lower fertility and moderate water retention. Further north and to the east soils are prevalently volcanic in origin and are deeper and more fertile.

Principal varieties and characteristics: Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot: deep, ripe, often jammy flavors, with firm tannins for structure, and appealing aromas of currant and black fruit. Rhone varieties (Syrah, Viognier): Fleshy, supple and slightly earthy. Zinfandel: Blackberry-like, well-structured.

bottle of stag's leap cabernet sauvignon Franç...
bottle of stag’s leap cabernet sauvignon Français : bouteille de cabernet sauvgnon stag’s leap (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Stags Leap District AVA

Climate: Moderately warm, with afternoon marine winds acting as an ‘air-conditioner’ to cool the warmer air radiating off the bare rocks of Stags Leap itself and the surrounding hillsides. This AVA is often up to 10°F warmer than in Yountville AVA. Mid-summer temperatures can reach 100°F (37.7°C), but more regularly are in mid-90° range (32-34°C). Elevation: 66 to 400 ft. (20 to 123m). Rainfall: 30 inches (75cm) annually. Soils: Volcanic gravel-loams on the floor of the valley, with rocky hillsides, and low to moderate fertility due to hard clay bedrock subsoils 2 to 6 feet down.

Principal varieties & characteristics: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese: Distinguished by lush, velvety textures and fine perfumed cherry and red berry flavors, supported by soft tannins. Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc: Round and ripe, especially Sauvignon Blanc, yet retain excellent citrus and apple flavors.

Wild Horse Valley AVA

Climate: A warmer area well to the east of Napa Valley proper, but still moderated by both altitude and prevailing winds coming off Suisun Bay to the southeast. Elevation: Wild Horse Valley 400 to 1500 ft. (123 to 460m). Rainfall: 35 inches (94cm) annually. Soils: Volcanic in origin, with basaltic red color, shallow with limited water retention, so irrigation is often essential.

Principal varieties & characteristics: Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese: Bright berry and cherry fruit, and more acidity than wines from Stags Leap District. Chardonnay: Crisp, floral, aromatic, with distinctive pear-mineral flavors and bright acidity.

Yountville

Climate: Moderate, with definite cool marine influence and fog contributing to cool summer mornings and the marine breeze keeping afternoons more comfortable than further up valley. Mid-summer peak temperatures may reach 90°F (32.2°C), with noticeable diurnal fluctuation to the mid-50°F range (13°C). Elevation: 20 to 200 ft (6 to 61m). Rainfall: 32 inches (80cm) annually. Soils: Principally gravelly silt loams, sedimentary in origin, and gravelly alluvial soils with rock, moderately fertile.

Principal varieties & characteristics: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot: Yountville favors Cabernet and Merlot with ripe, violety aromas and rich, but supple flavors and firm tannins.”

Napa Valley Wine Train, Napa Valley, Californi...
Napa Valley Wine Train, Napa Valley, California, USA (Photo credit: jimg944)

Join me on the Napa Valley Wine Train.

Salute from www.vino-con-vista.com Travel Guides

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