Exploring The Cabernet Sauvignon Of Napa Valley, Part Six
Over the course of the previous five installments of this series on Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, I’ve focused on various specific appellations, trying to contextualize them in order to demonstrate what makes the wines from each unique. This final one, on Cabs labeled as simply Napa Valley, as opposed to any of the specific nested AVAs, is inherently problematic: Wines labeled as Napa Valley encompass a sweeping range of soils, micro-climates, geological histories, elevations, and more. In that regard, it’s just not possible to tie them all together in any satisfactory way.
To help shed some light on Napa Valley as a whole, I spoke with Vinous founder and CEO Antonio Galloni, who is not only one of the most important critics in the world of wine in general—his expertise literally spans the globe—but whose Vinous Napa Valley Vineyard Maps, done with critic and cartographer Alessandro Masnaghetti, are the most comprehensive and educational I’ve ever seen.
“The reason why I started to do those maps back in 2011,” he said, “is that I was tasting wines for Robert Parker [of The Wine Advocate],” and realized that, “if you woke up on the valley floor, you think you were tasting in Piedmont” from all of the fog. “And if you drive up to Pritchard Hill, it’s dry and sunny—and this is the same day.”