Napa Valley

Napa Valley, Napa Valley.  They make the best wines. Blah, blah, blah. Sometimes that’s all you hear in restaurants around the world.  Well, there’s a reason.  We flat out do make the best wines in the world.  Is it luck?  Did someone pay off the French judges during all the wine tasting competitions over the last 40 years?  No.  It’s simply that Napa Valley is spectacularly well-suited to produce wine.  Yes, there are lots of places with Mediterranean-styled climates near the ocean, but Napa — let’s call it Elvis — has some extra geological and climatological factors that separate it from the impersonators. Rich, volcanic soils?  Check. Mount St. Helena, at the north end of the valley, blew its top thousands of years ago, depositing heaps of fertile ash over the region. Cool, damp evenings and hot, sunny days? Check. Not only does the south end of the valley open onto the San Francisco Bay, but the north end of the valley, despite seeming to be hemmed in, is privileged to get its own ocean influence (a.k.a. cool, moist fog) via a geological series of twists and turns which channels it directly onto our lush grapes.  Microclimates and … micro-valleys?   Check and check.  Napa Valley is not just a big open bowl. There are numerous, narrow micro-valleys which form their own unique climate blend, thus creating a vast variety of taste and flavor even within one vineyard.  So next time, someone goes on and on and on about the uniqueness of Napa Valley, you can be armed with a few tidbits to help back them up!