The best wines from Napa Valley

Napa Valley has become an iconic symbol not only of California viticulture, but of viticulture in America. Stretching roughly 50 km from north to south and nestled between two mountain ranges, it produces a diverse range of exceptional wines. Its ideal natural conditions and varied microclimates play a pivotal role.

Napa Valley's diverse climates and soil types mean that there is no single style. With more than 400 wineries, the region offers a diverse selection of grape varieties, including more than three dozen varietals. It is famous for Cabernet Sauvignon, but also favours Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Zinfandel and Merlot.

Suppliers in Napa Valley

Abreu  |  Adversity  |  Alpha Omega  |  Amuse Bouche  |  Amuse Bouche Richard G, Peterson  |  Au Sommet  |  Aubert  |  Beaulieu Vineyard  |  Beringer  |  Bevan Cellars  |  Blankiet  |  Boar's View  |  Bond  |  Brand Winery  |  Bryant  |  Cade Winery  |  Cardinale  |  Carte Blanche  |  Carter Cellars  |  Caymus  |  Chateau Montelena  |  Christian Moueix  |  Colgin  |  Continuum  |  Corison  |  Coup de Foudre  |  D R Stephens  |  Dalla Valle  |  Dana Estates  |  Derenoncourt  |  Detert Family Vineyards  |  Domaine Curry  |  Duckhorn  |  DuMol  |  Dunn Vineyards  |  Eisele Vineyards Estate  |  Far Niente  |  Flora Springs  |  Fortunate Son  |  Futo  |  Gallica  |  Gustav Niebaum  |  Harlan Estate  |  Havens Winery  |  Heitz  |  Hess Collection  |  Hourglass  |  Hudson Vineyards  |  Hundred Acre Vineyard  |  Inglenook  |  Ink Grade  |  Jarvis Vineyards  |  Joseph Phelps  |  Kata  |  Kendall-Jackson  |  Keplinger  |  Kongsgaard  |  La Jota  |  Larkmead  |  Levy & McLellan  |  Lokoya  |  Long Meadow Ranch  |  Marciano Estate  |  Maybach  |  Merryvale Vineyards  |  Merus  |  Meteor Vineyard  |  Michel Rolland  |  Mirrasou  |  Mondavi  |  Myriad Cellars  |  Niebaum Coppola  |  Opus One  |  Orin Swift  |  Outpost Cellars  |  Pahlmeyer  |  Palmaz Vineyard  |  Patria  |  Paul Hobbs  |  Paul Lato  |  PharaohMoans  |  Philip Togni  |  Pine Ridge  |  Promontory  |  Quintessa  |  Ramey  |  Realm  |  Rivers-Marie  |  Roy Estate  |  Rudd  |  Rudd Estate  |  Rudius  |  Scarecrow  |  Schrader Cellars  |  Screaming Eagle  |  Shafer  |  Shared Notes  |  Shibumi Knoll  |  Sine Qua Non  |  Sloan  |  Spottswoode  |  Stag's Leap  |  Staglin  |  Tesseron Estate  |  The Debate  |  The Mascot  |  Turnbull  |  Ulysses Vineyards  |  Verite  |  Vineyard 7 & 8
All wines in Napa Valley
Napa Valley

History of wines from Napa Valley

Once overshadowed by Sonoma, Napa Valley's viticulture surged in the 1860s, driven by Charles Krug's Prussian immigrant. By 1876, Napa wines rivalled European counterparts. Challenges, including phylloxera, prohibition, economic crises, and World War II, stunted growth, allowing a handful of wineries to endure. Today, Napa Valley stands as one of the most renowned yet most expensive wine regions in the world.

The terroir of wines from Napa Valley

Commonly, highly porous, moisture-resistant soil with a loose, gravelly texture prevails, preserving grape integrity. Southern Napa Valley extends into Los Carneros, bordering San Pablo Bay, with significant coastal fog affecting sunshine and temperatures up to Yountville, creating a cool microclimate. The central section, encompassing Yountville through Rutherford and St. Helena to Freemark Abbey, experiences later-arriving fog and falls. Beyond Calistoga, as the valley ascends, the bay's influence diminishes. The southernmost, coolest zone suits Pinot Noir and Chardonnays.


The grapes of wines from Napa Valley

Napa Valley offers a large number of grape varieties, with over three dozen varieties flourishing in the region from Albarino to Zinfandel.

Blue Grapes in Napa Valley, some examples
Cabernet Sauvignon is the primary red grape in Napa Valley, its expression often very influenced by vineyard location.

Merlot, fixture since the 1970s, has transitioned from a blending partner to a varietal wine.

Pinot Noir finds success in the coastal areas of California, particularly in Napa Valley's Los Carneros, known for producing elegant wines. Vineyards near the San Pablo Bay yield lighter, refined wines, while mountain vineyards produce robust reds with high tannins.

Petit Verdot and Malbec, typically used in Bordeaux blends, contribute depth and complexity to Napa Valley wines, occasionally bottled as varietal wines due to the region's favourable Mediterranean climate.

Zinfandel, renowned for its versatility, has a rich history in California winemaking, evolving from dry red wines to the popular White Zinfandel.

Cabernet Franc, known for its finesse, offers an interesting alternative to Cabernet Sauvignon.

Syrah, present, but not widespread.

White Grapes in Napa Valley
Chardonnay, the second most planted grape, thrives in the cool climate and calcium-rich soils.

Sauvignon Blanc offers some very interesting wines, sometimes matured in wooden casks.

Pinot Gris/Grigio shows diverse styles depending on the region..

Classifications of wines from Napa Valley

In the late 1970s, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF) established the American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) to legally designate wine regions based on geographical features. In 1981, Napa Valley was established as an AVA. It was the second AVA nationwide and the very first in California. There are 16 AVAs located in the AVA of Napa Valley AVA, including:
Atlas Peak is known for producing exceptional wine from Cabernet Sauvignon. The area is characterized by large rock fragments and raised bench sites within the Vaca Mountains which gives de location a unique terroir that contributes to the high quality of its grape varietals.

  • Calistoga can be described by its temperatures that are cool at night and warmer during the day, which are ideal grape growing conditions. The regions soils are excellent for cultivating the grapes Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • Chiles Valley is nestled in the rugged terrain of the Vaca Mountains. The area is a secluded valley and can be defined by its unique microclimate and absence of fog. It is known for its exceptional wines produced from the Zinfandel variety.
  • Coombsville lies to east of the Napa City, and can be characterized by an alluvial con that is sourced from the Vaca Mountains. The region is emerging as a promising site for the cultivation of Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • Diamond Mountain District is located at the northern end of the Mayacamas Mountains. The area is characterized by the prevalence of volcanic soils which is famous for the production of sparkling wines.
  • Howell Mountain is known as the initial sub-AVA in Napa Valley emerged in 1983.
  • Los Carneros is renowned for its production of premier wines produced from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, earning them the distinction of being the region's primary cultivars.
  • Mount Veeder´s vineyards predominantly cultivate Cabernet Sauvignon and are thriving on volcanic soils.
  • Oak Knoll climate can be defined as humid with cool conditions and also abundant fog. Therefore, it favourable in this region to cultivate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
  • Oakville climate is a little warmer than Yountville. This area is the home of Chaix's Napa Valley Vineyards.
  • Rutherford is located on the valley floor and boasts temperatures that are warmer than those of Oakville. This area nurtures exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • St. Helena wine growing region is dominated by fluvial soils. This characteristic is known for making the wines somewhat less distinct, however, it is still home to many notable wineries.
  • Spring Mountain District is positioned within the heart of the Mayacamas Mountains. The region can be distinguished by a blend of volcanic and sandstone soils.
  • Stags Leap District is positioned on the Silverado Trail with traverses terrain. This can be characterized by hillsides and alluvial cones that originate in the Vaca Mountain Range in the eastern foothills. The area is renowned for its dusty and rich flavoured Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • Yountville´s wine area is tucked up in the valley and encompasses an alluvial cone stemming from the Mayacamas Mountains. The grapes grown that exhibit noteworthy quality come from the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.
  • Wild Horse Valley is similar to its neighbouring Carneros AVA. However, the region is distinguished by its emphasis on the production of premium Pinot Noir wines.

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