Napa Valley California - 64

THE GUIDE I WINE 101

First, the basics
1
GEOGRAPHY
The Napa Valley, at
35 miles long and
five miles wide, was
formed by tectonic
plate movement and
volcanic activity over
150 million years. The
valley's location between the cool Pacific
and hot Central Valley
results in a diverse
collection of microclimates and soil types.
Two mountain
ranges and the
Only
Napa River,
2% of
which bithe earth's
sects the
surface is
valley,
covered by a
Mediterranean
creates
climate, and
a diverse
Napa Valley
terrain.
is one such
place.

2

3

CLIMATE
Napa Valley enjoys
a Mediterranean
climate: Warm, dry,
sunny days and cooler
evenings. This pattern
of rising and falling
temps allow grapes
to ripen at a slower,
even pace. Within the
valley, there are other
diverse microclimates.
The Carneros region,
in the valley's southern
end, is influenced by
the Pacific Ocean and
marine breezes that
come up from the
Bay area. In the
north, the mountain
region has a wider
range of temps and
more rainfall.

SOIL
Napa Valley is one of
the world's smallest
wine regions, but it's
also one of the most
diverse. Because of
the volcanic activity
over the course of 150
million years, Napa
Valley has more than
100 soil variations
that affect the
character of different
grapes. On the valley
floor, the soil is deeper
and more fertile. On
the hillsides and in
the mountains,
rocky soil produces
smaller grapes of
concentrated color
and flavor.

Talk the Talk

BECAUSE YOU DON'T WANT TO CARRY AROUND A WINE DICTIONARY, USE
THIS WINE-TASTING CHEAT SHEET INSTEAD.
ACIDITY: The tartness or crispness of a wine; acidity makes your mouth salivate. Wines with no acidity
are called flat.
BALANCED: When all components of a wine - alcohol, acidity, sugars, tannins - are working in harmony.
BODY: Usually referred to as light, medium, or full; this is the impression of weight on your palate. Fullbodied is a wine that's high in alcohol and flavors.
MOUTHFEEL: How the wine feels on your palate (silky, smooth, rough, chewy, complex).
LEGS: How the wine sticks to the inside of the glass after drinking or swirling.
TANNINS: Extracted from grape seeds and skins; they taste astringent or chalky, and add body and
structure to wine.

?
64

"Visit a winery with
a cave tour. This is not
something you see
at all wineries. My favorite is Schramsberg
Vineyards, because
they offer a tour and
tasting inside the
caves."
- Camille K., Napa
Valley Welcome
Center Volunteer

DID YOU KNOW? Your first stop should be to downtown Napa's Napa Valley Welcome Center for maps and more info. The local
experts will offer winery suggestions based on your preferences, whether you want to see museum-worthy art collections, stroll French-style
gardens, or experience culinary and wine pairings.

VISITNAPAVALLEY.COM | 2019

LEFT: SHUTTERSTOCK; TOP: STOCKSY/┬ęSEAN LOCKE

WHAT MAKES THE NAPA VALLEY A RENOWNED WINE-GROWING REGION?
THERE ARE THREE ANSWERS, AND IT'S ALL ABOUT NATURE.


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Napa Valley California

Contents
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