Wine Spectator-Napa Valley, California- ""Packs in a lot of complexity, with aromas of apple, fresh ginger and rubber that lead to crisp and layered flavors of raspberry and spice...173,000 cases made.""
It’s the quality and reputation of Napa Valley wine that inspire crowds of tourists to visit Napa Valley wineries dotting Highway 29, nestled between the Mayacamas mountain range to the west and the Vaca Range to the east.
Despite its limited acreage, Napa Valley is a diverse growing region with many microclimates and varied soil types. Over the 30 miles from the cool San Francisco Bay north through Oakville, Rutherford, St. Helena and Calistoga, the average temperature can increase 10 percent. So cool-weather varieties like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir thrive in Carneros, at the southern end of the region; warm-weather grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc fare better in the north.
Champagne and the best sparkling wines share the unique quality of making any occasion special – and of making special occasions that much more magical. The pop of a cork has traditionally signaled the start of a celebration, after all.
Yet the great secret of Champagne and other sparkling wines is that they are good all the time. There’s no need to wait for New Year’s Eve to enjoy a sparkling wine, when affordable and delicious bubblies are increasingly produced in all of the world’s great winemaking regions. Dry sparklers, with their zesty, palate-cleansing acidity, are marvelous food wines. So it’s easy to incorporate fun sparkling wines into your happy hour, or a casual brunch or dinner. Sweeter sparkling wines keep the party going through dessert. The setting doesn’t have to be fancy: The Italians, who know a few things about food and wine, like to pair their sparkling Prosecco with potato chips.