The big weekend is here, and what a delicious one it will be. Probably one of the best things about a holiday or celebration is that there is always a great meal as the centerpiece. I don’t mean “meal” as a single dish, but as an actual event where every piece plays an important part in making the meal work; Appetizers, sides, main course, desserts and of course, the drinks. For this eventful weekend, we have a few selections and dinner pairings that we think will go perfectly with whichever meal you chose to prepare.
The first three picks are from our limited Bordeaux Collection. The Chateau Laurensanne 2008 Bordeaux and the Château des Proms 2008 Red Bordeaux Blend are both fine reds, whose blends of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec possess a gorgeous floral bouquet of spring, fruity notes of blackberries, blueberries and the like; full bodied yet layered with light flavors. Both wines are the perfect pairing for any Easter dish, but you’ll get the most out of them with a prime meat like beef or lamb.
Our third Bordeaux is the Cuvee Clemence 2008 Grand Vin de Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers. It’s a white wine with more woody and floral aromas, dryish but with a citrus finish. This Bordeaux will pair great at Easter dinner with a side of potatoes, cheeses or green beans.
For those celebrating Passover, we pulled together a delightful collection of kosher wines sure to complete the merriments. We’ve picked three Cabernet Sauvignons that sport expressive aroma blends of fruity black cherry and blueberry with sweet chocolate, licorice and spices. The Covenant 2008 Red C Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley and Covenant Cabernet Sauvignon (in both 2007 and 2008) make for impressive selections. Our kosher wines are handled only by strictly Sabbath-observant Jews, who use natural, indigenous yeasts all within the parameters of kosher conventions.
Both collections from Easter and Passover are a perfect pairing for this delicious Lamb Chops with Eggplant Caponata recipe from the Food Network below:
What you need:
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic; cook 3 minutes. Add the eggplant, season with salt and pepper and cook until the eggplant begins to soften, about 3 more minutes. Add the rosemary, tomato and vinegar and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the capers and pine nuts; set aside to cool slightly.
Place a large skillet over high heat. Season the lamb chops with salt and pepper. Working in batches, place the lamb chops in the pan, fat-side down, and cook until the fat begins to render, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the chops onto their sides and cook until crisp and brown, 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare.
Divide the eggplant caponata and lamb chops among plates and garnish with arugula.
To complete the dinner, try your hand at these simple and quick side recipes for Twice Baked Potatoes and Honey Glazed Carrots. The Potatoes will be great with the white Bordeaux and the carrots a sweet addition for the red wines.
Finish the night with some dark chocolate and these selections for dessert wine pairings:
Easter is just around the corner and we’re putting together our menu for a fun and delicious holiday. Spring is the perfect time for light and refreshing wines paired with our favorite Sunday activity: Brunch. Having an excuse to make Sunday brunch a little more fun for Easter is just an added bonus.
Our first pick is Schramsberg Mirabelle Brut. With generous aromas of vanilla and spun sugar, followed by fruitful characters of citrus and layered with essences of honey and toasted almonds, Mirabelle Brut works well as an accompaniment to a wide range of foods. Serve it as is with an egg dish, or impress your guests with this simple mix recipe:
Makes 8 cocktails
• 1 cup sugar
• 3 cups water
• 1 ½ cups fresh lemon juice
• 1 bottle of Mirabelle Brut
• Thin lemon slices for garnish (optional)
Put sugar and 1 cup of water into a small saucepan and bring to boil. Cook for 1 minute until sugar has dissolved, turn off heat, and allow mixture to cool.
In a pitcher, combine the cooled mixture with lemon juice and remaining 2 cups of water and mix well. Fill a Champagne flute halfway with the lemonade and top with Mirabelle Brut. Garnish with lemon.
If you’re more of a Mimosa drinker, the Schramsberg Mirabelle Brut is the key ingredient to making this premium mimosa mixer:
Makes 6 cocktails
• 6 tablespoons orange liqueur
• 1 bottle of Mirabelle Brut
• ½ quart orange juice (no pulp)
In each Champagne flute, add 1 tablespoon of orange liqueur, add Mirabelle Brut to fill 2/3 of each flute. Top glasses off with orange juice and serve!
Our next picks Huru Sauvignon Blanc, Merryvale Careneros Chardonnay and Mira Luna Tough Day Chardonnay. All focus on crisp, vibrant fruits that pack a punch. Huru Sauvignon Blanc is very food friendly and pairs nicely with vegetables or creamy sauces. Chardonnay shows some aromas of apple butter, spice and honey, making it a great pairing for appetizers, cheese and pork. Both whites are incredible fresh, crisp and a perfect drink to accompany this appetizing Eggs Benedict with Canadian Bacon recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod.
Our last two Easter Brunch picks are the Grass Tree Traminer Riesling, the Azur 2009 Rosé. Traminer Riesling offers floral aromas of rose and fresh citrus flavors, perfect for Spring and warm weather. It pairs with many appetizers, cheeses, pork, poultry and seafood. Similar is the Rosé, which is one of the world’s most versatile wines for food pairings. Desserts, cheeses, herbs, vegetables, anything goes. These two delicate wines would be great to serve with this very delicious (and very easy!) Spinach and Bacon Quiche recipe from The Food Network.
Learn more about our selections at the bottom and feel free to share with us your own Easter Brunch specialties!
Winetasting.com’s Easter Brunch Selection:
• Schramsberg Mirabelle Brut
• Huru Sauvignon Blanc
• Grass Tree Traminer Riesling
• Merryvale Careneros Chardonnay
• Azur 2009 Rose
• Mira Luna Tough Day Chardonnay
You don't need luck when you already know what great wines to pair with your traditional Irish fare! These St. Patrick's Day food and wine pairing ideas will have your mouth waterin' and your Irish eyes smilin'. Follow the links for recipes!
Top of the Mornin'
Moscato d'Asti is great as a starter or all through brunch. The orange glaze atop these dry scones echoes the sweet mandarin orange flavors of the wine. Bread pudding would make a delightful combination with this wine as well.
Pot of Gold
Follow the rainbow with Pinot Noir in hand. Root vegetables like carrots, parsnip and turnip bring out the earthiness in Pinot Noir, which has deservedly earned the nickname "the ultimate food wine".
The Wearin' of the Green
Go green with a baby spinach salad, topped with feta, toasted walnuts and cranberries or pomegranate. A splash of Rosé added to the vinaigrette brings it all together.
Rich garlic puts crisp Sauvignon Blanc to the test alongside Dover sole with a fresh salad and goat cheese. The wine highlights the onion flavor of the scallions and cuts the thick buttery element of the sauce.
Salty vs. sweet. Sour vs. sweet. Those are the match-ups here. Fruity Chenin Blanc counters the corned beef's saltiness. Cabbage has a sour element to it that is balanced by the honey and nectar elements of the wine.
Share your favorite St. Patrick's Day recipes on our Facebook page, and let us know how you plan to celebrate!
This recipe can be fully customized to your tastes. Spice it up with red pepper for example or experiment with different meats like venison, pork or turkey. Either way, it will leave a lasting impression with guests at your next dinner party.
2 pounds ground beef
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
2 tablespoons sugar-based curing mixture (such as Morton® Tender Quick®)
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 teaspoon liquid smoke flavoring
In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, garlic powder, onion powder, mustard seed, curing salt, black pepper and liquid smoke. Mix in the red pepper flakes if desired. Roll the mixture into a 2 inch diameter log, and wrap tightly in aluminum foil. Refrigerate for 24 hours.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Make a few slits in the bottom of the roll to allow the fat to drain when cooking. Place roll onto a broiler pan, and fill the bottom part of the pan with about 1 inch of water to keep the salami moist.
Bake for 90 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from pan and cool completely before unwrapping the salami. Slice and eat as lunch meat, or serve on a tray with crackers and cheese.
Amount Per Serving Calories: 96 | Total Fat: 8.2g | Cholesterol: 26mg
Recipe courtesy of allrecipes.com
Looking for a great wine to pair with your zesty salami? Try Davis Family 2007 Russian River Old Vine Zinfandel. Bright, juicy red raspberry mixed with a smoky plum and that great old vine spice, ripe but never over ripe. Full-bodied but not heavy, lush and simply delicious!
Back in the day, pairing steak and wine might have seemed easier given the simple edict of, “Red wine goes with red meat.” But these days, there are almost as many different ways to prepare steaks, as there are varietals of red wine. Rather than become overwhelmed, we turned to the steak experts at Stockyards.com. Known for providing USDA prime and choice beef since 1893, they proved to be an experienced resource when it comes to steaks. In general, their favorite wines for steaks include Cabernet, Bordeaux, Merlot, Shiraz and Zinfandel. But the experts at Stockyards.com are quick to point out that if you’d prefer a white wine with steak, it is perfectly acceptable to serve Chardonnay.
For starters, if serving Carpaccio as an appetizer, accompany it with a full-flavored Sparkling Rosé that will also serve to entice the palate for upcoming courses.
When considering wine for when steak is the main course, grilled steaks require a wine with heft, depth of fruit and smoky oak in order to appropriately balance the char and fat of the meat. Good choices for this include American Red Zinfandels, Cabernets, Spanish Rioha or Priorat. Chardonnay can also be a reliable choice when the steak is grilled and seasoned lightly with just salt and pepper. For pan-fried steaks, our experts suggest a fruitier selection, with more jam and spice in the nuances – such as California, Oregon or Washington Merlots.
It’s not just the steak one has to consider – there’s also the sauce or marinade that’s being used to accompany the steak. If the steak is being served with a barbecue or tomato-based sauce, a Chianti offers nuances that complement both. If a piquant or spicier sauce is being served with the steak, choose a strong Zinfandel or a full-bodied European Red. And a hearty Chardonnay makes a fine choice for Steak au poivre or a steak being served with rich, creamy sauces. For a steak served with a Béarnaise sauce, choose an American Cabernet. And for a sauce that leans more toward blue cheese and/or butter as its main ingredients, our experts suggest Southern Italian Reds.
Steaks braised with wine should be served with a selection that’s similar in flavor to what you’re cooking with – at least in regard to region and grape. Steaks that are stock-braised require wines with a higher acidity to cut the richness.
Finally, Stockyards.com reminds us that, of course, what tastes good together is good together. In other words, it’s okay to make up your own rules as you go along!
Napa Valley Gourmet Experience - Save over 20% on this memorable pairing of aged Cabernet Sauvignon & Top Sirloin steaks.
Treat yourself or a loved one to the truly memorable pairing of a legendary, top rated aged, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon with the finest USDA Prime Top Sirloin. Our Napa Valley Gourmet Experience is truly a memorable gift.
Already have the steaks? For an easy wine-steak pairing solution, try Wine That Loves Grilled Steak. Don't let the whimsical label fool you. Wine That Loves is a serious wine. Try this wine with your next steak meal!
Friday, October 5, Elli’s Wine Cellar, Weymouth, MA: The most beautiful wine shop on the planet! Dave-free, so additionally poured organic Argentine Syrah & Moscatel, as well as a magnificent (non-organic) Malbec-based blend from the Global Wines, MA portfolio.
Also, as a sneak preview, tasted my final two potential 09 Madison’s Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon blends for Global Wines, MA, with B proving to be the clear favorite of the crowd. The Elli’s customers come to these Friday PM tastings to purchase as well as enjoy the ambiance of the shop.
Friday, October 14, Abington Liquors, Abington, MA: A well-promoted event, beautifully set up and displayed by Hemal Petal and his staff for us.
Instead of Dave’s usual “Corked” originals, heading into Halloween, we chose to display some of his Universal Monsters paintings instead.
Old friend Kristine Lydon stopped by as did Russ Sorrel and his better half, now owners of The Finer Taste, Florida’s best wine bar and Florida “Corked” the comic headquarters. We sold just about every bottle.
Saturday, October 15, Liberty Wine & Liquors, Braintree, MA: I was told by one woman buying her Bud Light 30 pack, “people don’t really drink wine.”
After that comment we felt a bit like we were working the Twilight Zone. Old wholesale comrade-in-arms Bob Bradford came by to taste, Megh Burgess and Matt McArthur visited. Not a single person posed for a caricature from Dave, which has never happened before…
Thursday, October 20, The Wine Bunker, Reading, MA: Smokin’ tasting – a charity event for Reading, Kansas. Pete and Bob should be proud of this! Excellent free food for the guests, plenty of MA wine wholesalers pouring, in addition to us. Tasted old friends from Ideal Wines on our wines, and Global Wines, MA compadre Mike Lancaster sat for a caricature a la Dave.
We sold it all, out-of-Crusher & Stemmer Red, and bottle stock only left of 09 Tough Day Chard & Tough Dame Cab. Guests were stealing our tasting glasses, which we found to be odd…
Friday, October 21, Cork's Fine Wine and Liquors, Mansfield, MA: How cool is it that the “Coked” tie- in wines are sold in a shop named Cork’s? Excellent event, tasting area is elegant – tasting bar, separate counter for glassware, separate area for Dave to draw at, station for the lap top so guests could view the site.
Obviously the shop did a great job promoting this – not a free moment, and we even started early.
Tasting display, an up front display and an in the heart of the fine domestic wines display, We did our best to move every bottle for the retailer who had our wines out on multiple displays.
Long-time-supporters Tony Bithony and Bev Kelley attended,
Saturday, October 22, Larkin’s Medfield Package Store, Medfield, MA: Old friend Dave Jost had stopped in earlier and left me a note asking why we were sold out of Crusher & Stemmer Red nationwide. Dave’s folks stopped by!
Sunday, October 23, Mark Chester book signing soiree, Hassan Gallery, Hanover, MA: Dave-free, Richard & Geraldine had purchased plenty of “Corked” wine from a local retailer, and asked if I would pour.
Fun event, nice, interesting crowd. Great food made by Geraldine! Charter “Corked” army members Bob & Kathleen Cumming attended, Kathleen & my wife bought clothes in another one of the shops – that boutique owes the Hassans a thank-you note!
Mark Chester’s photos were fun and thought-provoking, he tasted and endured the pitch on all of the “Corked” wines, and gave me a postcard book of his photos as a thank-you.
Saturday, October 29, Casablanca Comics, Portland, ME: A Shipyard brewery tour got us in the proper frame of mind while Bull Moose Music got plenty of ”Corked” army money.
Rick Lowell, Laura O’Meara, and local comics creators hosted state-of-Maine librarians with food, drink, comics, original art, and a puppet show by members of the Boston Comics Roundtable.
Megh took plenty of photos to chronicle the “Corked” army invasion of Portland for the site.
A nasty pre-Halloween snow storm put a lid on some of the craziness, despite the flowing wine.
Dave did a caricature of some librarians as Chucky and Rick as Plastic Man, using Jose Luis Gracia-Lopez’s original model sheet for a guide.
We were asked back for the Maine Comics Festival and Dave traded his original event art for original Joe Simon monster art!
Friday, November 4, Eastside Market & Wine Shop, South Boston, MA: Dave-free, so also tasted Terroir Imports Cava & organic Spanish reds. As advertised, excellent traffic in one of Boston’s original-post-prohibition package stores.
Shop does a great job on our wines, as many of the customers there already knew and were buying our wines.
Sold plenty of Terroir Imports wines for Paul Clear and Global Wines, MA too.
Saturday, November 5, Pilgrim Wine & Spirits, Plymouth, MA: A right-up-front area cleared for us to work in, and the shop had assertively discounted the wines on a nice display for the duration of the tasting.
There was plenty of plaza traffic, but not so much store traffic, few tasters and fewer non-bulk wine shoppers.
Not many caricatures for Dave to do, but everyone who tasted bought.
Friday, November 11, Renaissance Wine & Spirits, Worcester, MA: A well-advertised event with a beautiful display and nice tasting area in another lovely, clean, spacious shop fighting the good fight in what could be considered a difficult-to-sell-fine-wine area. Dave unveiled his new Chenin Meunier pinup here.
Deb Nilan wore her Tough Dame Cab finery to the event. Old friend David Tiberii & his wife visited. Plenty of tasters, plenty of caricatures done, and enough sales to be more-than-encouraging. They will also be offering Dave’s Boston sports caricatures for sale.
Saturday, November 12, Ralph's Derby Street Wine & Spirits, Hingham, MA: The Grand Holiday Tasting proved to not be just hyperbole. Plenty of guests and food.
Unusually well-organized – we had an excellent area, perfect to display our art as well as pour the wines, tell our story and draw caricatures.
Caught up with old comrade-in-arms Deb Pecce, who poured for a MA wholesaler!
New England Comics’ Doreen Greeley visited, in her Tough Dame Cab t-shirt!
And we were the event’s top seller!
Thursday, November 17, Bradford’s, Plymouth, MA: Dave-free, for Global Wines, MA. Well displayed, designated tasting area, crackers. Cava made by Paul Clear, two organic whites & two organic reds Vino la tierra de castilla, plus two old world-style reds Vino la tierra de castilla made by Paul Clear. Reds moved well, Cava OK, whites were difficult to peddle.
Friday, November 18, Pops Fine Wines & Liquors, North Easton, MA: Plenty of space and foot traffic. Multiple displays, full racks, plus a designated tasting table and a separate counter area for Dave.
Dave’s Stooges art original premiered! Busy right through - almost wiped out their supply. Linda Shumway, Owner & Wine Maker, Plymouth Winery, Plymouth, MA visited and bought Crusher & Stemmer Red. Sneak previewed my San Valencia Winery, Old Vine Tawny.
Saturday, November 19, Elli’s Wine Cellar, Weymouth, MA: Great event, plenty of guests, great food in this mega-elegant shop. Nice display area with designated space for Dave to draw at – we had the best location in the store.
People came to taste & buy – poured our wines, plus five Global Wines, MA items. Everything sold better-than-expected. Sold all of their Crusher & Stemmer Red and Tough Day Chardonnay, and the lion’s share of their Tough Dame Cabernet.
Righted a previous wrong – we gave a signed poster to one of their top Tough Dame Cab customers whom I met on in the shop on her birthday, buying her weekly wine, but did not have a poster in the car at that time and felt horrible about it.
Friday, December 2, Hingham Liquors, Hingham, MA: Nice display waiting for us with plenty of food!
Huge crowds – the lighting of the town Christmas tree ceremony in the square.
Cleared out all of his stock on Crusher & Stemmer Red and the lion’s share of his Tough Day Chardonnay & Tough Dame Cabernet.
This was a particularly sweet event for us in that his neighbor in the “wine shoppe” down the street told me he was a “serious wine shop” and had no need of our wines, all-the-while making it sound like Dave & I were some sub-species beneath contempt, because he had once owned a shop in St Helena.
We worked non-stop pouring, drawing & peddling from our starting-to-set-up and we stayed late as there was still interest. Sneak previewed the new Crusher & Stemmer Red blend.
Saturday, West Concord Liquor Store, Inc., Concord, MA: Nice crowds, and food for the guests on the shop’s 30th anniversary. No one else was nearly as prepared as us, or had such an attractive display. Plenty of MA wholesalers, but no suppliers other than us.
Pam Schweppe visited, looking radiant as usual. Lots of somewhat pretentious “I don’t drink whites” or “I won’t drink Chardonnay” to wade through from many of the guests.
We sold out of reds with an hour to go, Chardonnay by the time we closed down.
Sneak previewed the new Crusher & Stemmer Red blend again.
Friday, December 9, Granite Liquors, Weymouth, MA: With Global wines, MA. Food for the guests, good traffic for us. Sold far more than the other MA wholesalers and local breweries that were pouring. Very few people buying beyond a bottle or two for themselves – did not see much in the way of Christmas shopping.
Saturday, December 10, The Main Course Market, Canton, MA: With Global wines, MA. Good traffic, plenty of real tasting-to-buyers, plenty of caricature action. Nice gourmet spreads and crackers for people to taste. Old friend Maura McAuliffe visited! Brought home a nice dinner - Neo-Tuscan bread, Greek cucumber & tomato salad, Asian snap peas, sweet & sour turkey meatballs, honey-mustard panko chicken breasts, chocolate covered grahams. 09 Madison’s Ranch Cab sneak preview.
Thursday, December 15, Murray's Liquors, Newton Centre, MA: What a tasting is supposed to be, right down to our celebratory post-tasting beer. Thought Dave was gonna propose to the lovely young lady who started discussing the Mort Drucker influences in his art on episode 26. Sold out of Chardonnay and the lion’s share of the Cabernet.
Friday, December 16, Blanchard's Wine & Spirits, Marshfield, MA: Old friends Cindy Barry, Lenny LaForest and their respected better halves visited. Sold enough that they had to re-order, and they still had a bit of Crusher & Stemmer to pour for their customers…
Salesmen from other wine companies came by to taste. Cindy’s hubby John properly identified the Dink Segal influence in Dave’s Chenin pinup, the original of which was purchased by proprietor Don Corey Jr.
Saturday, December 17, The Wine Nook, Townsend, MA: Friend Sothida Vanthan and her staff all wore Tough Dame t-shirts! Dave’s art from our previous visit on the walls! A bit of Crusher & Stemmer to pour! Old friend and Global Wines, MA salesperson Ilene Reyes visited!
Global previews: 09 Madison’s Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon, 10 Font du Mirail Ventoux & 10 Barn d’Or unoaked Chardonnay.
Nuts, cheese, bread & fruit for the guests. A great display of our wines, of which we made short work of the front six cases, while Dave drew piles of caricatures.
A wonderful way to end the tasting event season…
APA, Calif., Dec 15, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE)
The Coombsville Vintners & Growers have announced the approval and designation of Napa Valley's newest sub-appellation, the Coombsville Appellation. The official Coombsville Appellation designation was made official by the United States Department of the Treasury TTB on December 14, 2011, and makes Coombsville the Napa Valley's 16th AVA, or American Viticultural Area.
The Coombsville Appellation consists of approximately 11,000 acres, bound by the Napa River to the west, the rim of Vaca Range on the east, with altitudes ranging from near sea level at the western edge of the City of Napa, to approximately 1900 ft at Mt. George in the north. The horseshoe-shaped west-facing ridge of the Vaca Range partially encircles the Coombsville area, helping define the north, east and southern boundaries of this newest viticultural area. Coombsville AVA is a sub-appellation of the larger Napa Valley AVA and the multi-county North Coast AVA.
Coombsville Vintner Tom Farella of Farella Vineyard, who co-authored the AVA petition with fellow vintner Brad Kitson, said, "It's a great day for all of us that have been growing grapes in Coombsville for decades. Coombsville now has its proper place in the Napa Valley lexicon and on the appellation maps. Since the Coombsville name has been in use for so many years, having it placed among the great wine regions of the world feels a little like coming home."
"The members of Coombsville Vintners and Growers welcome the newfound attention to our little corner of Napa Valley. We are excited to showcase the amazing vineyards in Coombsville and the distinct and beautiful wines that are being made in the 16th AVA of Napa Valley," stated Rebecca Sciandri Griffin, Sciandri Family Vineyards, President of Coombsville Vintners and Growers.
The "Newly Recognized, but Long Established" Coombsville Vintners & Growers welcome visitors to one of the Napa Valley's historic and most relaxed regions. Coombsville Appellation wineries are primarily family-owned and operated, producing limited quantities of super-premium quality wines. The Coombsville Appellation is a mere one-hour drive from San Francisco, and only minutes from Michelin-starred restaurants and luxury hotels, spas, and B&B's in the city of Napa.
For more information on the Coombsville Appellation, and the Coombsville Vintners & Growers, please visit http://coombsvillenapa.org/ .
SOURCE: Coombsville Vintners & Grower
Tucked away within these hills is the Porter Family. They own a boutique vineyard and in-cave winery known for producing outstanding Cabernet and Syrah in extremely limited case quantities. Here at winetasting.com, we are thrilled to bring you this exclusive duo featuring the 2005 Cabernet and the 2005 Syrah. These gorgeous, hand crafted wines exhibit exotic flavors and aromas that are unique to the Coombsville appellation.
Buy Now - Extremely Limited Duo
When first planting grapes in the Napa Valley, varieties were planted in somewhat random patchwork patterns. But as winemaking became more of an art, vintners discovered the benefits of matching certain grapes to appropriate microclimates and soils, thus regions have emerged that imprint recognizable characteristics on the grapes grown within them. All this helps the consumer to not only discover what they like, but identify and find it more easily.
Since Napa Valley itself is an appellation, it helps to know the 15 sub-appellations as certified by the American Viticultural Area (AVA for short). Each offers distinctive characteristics that affect not only the grape, but also the resulting wines.
Atlas Peak AVA: The mountain-influenced climate gives Cabernet Sauvignons added acidity, while influencing Chardonnays with crisp, distinctive pear-mineral flavors.
Calistoga AVA: Warmer to downright hot temperatures along with marine air from the Northwest favors Cabernet Sauvignons, Zinfandels, Syrahs and Petite Sirahs.
Chiles Valley District AVA: Later harvests add lush yet firm texture and distinctive blackberry flavors to Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots and Cabernet Francs; while Merlots are distinguished by black cherry flavors with hints of cocoa.
Diamond Mountain District AVA: Moderately warm temperatures give Cabernet Sauvignons and Cabernet Francs firm structure with strong blackcurrant mineral and cedary flavors. Chardonnays are distinguished by green apple-peach aromas.
Howell Mountain AVA: Afternoon sun influences Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots and Zinfandels with firm blackberry-currant flavors and excellent acidity for aging. Chardonnays reveal more citrus and stone fruit flavors.
Los Carneros AVA: Cooler, marine-influenced winds from San Pablo Bay provide Chardonnays with pear-apple and spice flavors, Merlots with sleek structure and Pinot Noirs with earthy cherry-cinnamon spice flavors.
Mount Veeder AVA: Vineyards above the fog line bestow Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots and Zinfandels with firm, tannic structures and earth-berry aromas, while adding apple and citrus flavors along with good acidity to Chardonnays.
Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley AVA: Marine air and fog provide Merlots and Cabernet Sauvignons with cassis, tobacco and spice flavors typical to Bordeaux-style reds, while Chardonnays feature crisp, apple mineral notes with fine acidity.
Oakville AVA: Moderately warm temperatures result in Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots with ripe currant and mint flavors; along with Sauvignon Blancs that are full, steely and very fleshy.
Rutherford AVA: Early morning fog gives way to warm temperatures that provide Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots, Cabernet Francs and Zinfandels with intense cherry and mineral aromas along with supple tannins for extended aging.
Spring Mountain District AVA: Fairly cool nights and higher elevations result in Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots and Zinfandels with powerful blackberry-currant flavors and excellent agility for aging while Chardonnays exhibit less fruity, more citrus and stone fruit flavors.
St. Helena AVA: Mid summer temperature peaks of 90+ degrees bestow Cabernet Francs, Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots with deep, ripe and often jammy flavors.
Stags Leap District AVA: Moderate warmth along with afternoon marine winds distinguish Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots and Sangioveses with finely perfumed cherry and red berry flavors while Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs exhibit excellent citrus and apple flavors.
Wild Horse Valley AVA: Warmth that’s moderated by both altitude and winds result in Cabernet Sauvignons and Sangioveses with bright berry and cherry fruit and provide Chardonnays with distinctive pear-mineral flavors and bright acidity.
Yountville AVA: Fog and a cooler marine influence provide Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots with ripe, violety aromas and firm tannins.
Here is another 2011 Harvest update from our friends at the Napa Valley Vintners Association. The area depicted is our friends Jackse Vineyard. This vineyard was named after Austrian immigrant Stephen Jackse who ran a winery at this location pre- prohibition. -Chris