Vineyards have been part of the Napa Valley landscape for over 150 years now. Some of the world’s best wines come from Napa Valley; if anything, the words Napa Valley has become synonymous with great wines! Napa is today known as a first ranking wine region, on par with the wine regions of France, Italy, and Spain.
Why is any Napa Valley wine so sought after? Why is it, that even after all these years of growing wine in the same lands, the wines have only got better? There are several reasons behind this phenomenon, many of them having to do with the Napa Valley terrain and its unique geological composition.
The Unique Napa Valley Appellation
The Napa Valley appellation is totally unique, given its relatively small geographic area of 754 square miles. An incredible level of soil diversity is found in this area; soils of volcanic, maritime and alluvial origin all exist together, each created by geological events that took place over 60 million years ago.
The present day Napa Valley owes its vine-friendly biosphere to ancient tectonic plate movement and volcanic activity. Naturally impregnated by alluvial waters, the area’s topography supports over 30 identified types of deep and fertile soils, which are particularly favorable for the growth of grapes.
Growing Vines Based On Soil Appellation
In earlier times, grapes of different varieties were grown in mixed rows. Experience and research indicate that it is best to grow specific kinds of grapes in locations whose soils and microclimates are best suited to their growth. Owing to its diverse appellation, several regions within Napa Valley possess distinct microclimates and terrains. This in turn imprints recognizable and appreciable characteristics on grapes grown in these regions.
The Napa Valley is therefore divided into 15 sub-appellations, each possessing diverse climatic and soil conditions primed for growing certain varieties of grape, leading to an explosive range of wines that bring out a whole range of subtle flavors.
Bringing Out The Subtle Flavors In Napa Valley Wine
Magnificence is not in the packaging or taste; when it comes to wine, true magnificence takes subtle forms that must be savored with all the delicacy of an ardent lover. When all the subtle flavors of a great wine are imbibed, the full expressive range of the Napa Valley wine becomes an explosive bouquet of unbelievable sensations.
When it comes to Napa Valley wine, it is not about how good a wine is, but what are the characteristics and subtle flavors of a wine. Each wine bears a recognizable personality that’s a combination of distinctive aromas, flavors, color, texture, acidity and an overall sensibility.
The true character and quality of Napa Valley wines are a result of the diverse viticultural environments within its unique appellation. The interaction between the elements of soil and climate in a vineyard environment help harmonize texture, balance and flavor in wine. The French term this matrix of factors as Terroir.
The Terroir of a wine is an intriguing and hard to quantify aspect, and doesn’t lend itself to simple explanations and inane comparisons. For example, certain varieties of grapes that will produce moderate to good wines when grown in any other region will make exceptional wine when grown in the Napa Valley. This is mute testament to the remarkable and unique appellation of the Napa Valley topography.