Sunday, August 2, 2009

California’s Napa Valley…the new revolution is still just getting started.

California’s Napa Valley…the new revolution is still just getting started.

After the Napa Valley Californian’s defeated the French in the famous 1976 wine completion and the re-run completed recently; it is still the shot heard around the world.  It is a real awakening and the new revolution is still just getting started.

California’s warm and dry climate during the growing seasons make it ideal for wine making and with the diversity of soils and climate just about any wine can be made. If you think about that on its own it’s pretty incredible.

Many areas in California are still in their wine making infancy. So we are certainly going to see more varietals as the years go on. The best way to think about it is that the more you can a lot of people are going to get to taste a lot of different wines. It’s the probably the only place that is allowed to be all things to all people. …and really mean it. The best thing California has going for it is the lack of regulations because you can try to grow anything anywhere…well…kind of …There are AVA’s and sub AVA’s and all that. It’s an optimistic place.

Now hear this…In Napa Valley,  it’s only 1/8 the size of Bordeaux and produces only 4% of the wine made in California. But it’s 25% of the sales.  Sounds crazy?...we sure all drink a lot of wine. 

Napa has 14 sub appellations. All with its own distinct combinations of soils, elevations, microclimates and landscapes. That makes for a lot of wine styles which is very important. The wine can be very deep and layered. The wine has also a good degree of concentration.  So it’s plain to see why Napa Valley has achieved ‘Geographic Indication’ status in the European Union. People like the wines and they hold up. Cabernet Sauvignon classics such as Diamond creek, Shafer, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Heitz, Cos du Val, Chateau Montalena , Caymus, Dunn, Spottswoode and course the Reserve Mondavi  to name a bunch can really have staying power against the great French classics.

The French are slowly figuring that out and a lot are relocating, collaborating or starting projects.  Not just Opus One, Christian Moueix’s  Domunus Estate and BV’s Georges de Latour…Which is great for us the consumer.

…more on Napa Valley and California in a future article.