More to Napa Than Cab Sauv? Oh Yes!
There’s a lot more to Napa than Cabernet Sauvignon. Oh sure, Napa knows how to do “Cab”, but there are a lot of varietals that perform well in this famous Northern California AVA.
Last month I attended another great tasting hosted by Master Sommelier Matt Stamp and sponsored by the Guild of Sommeliers. We tasted three flights of great Napa wines. Today I’m going to tell you about the second flight; a somewhat eclectic group of red varietals OTHER than Cabernet Sauvignon.
The first wine I’ll highlight is a really fun one! Heitz Cellars (famous for their stellar Cabs) does a 100% Grignolino! Mostly grown in the Piedmont region of Italy, there is very little Grignolino grown outside of this region. The one small exception is California, and Heitz Wine Cellars does a great job with this unique grape in their Napa vineyards. The 2014 Heitz Cellars Grignolino is a light colored red, resembling a Gamay. Check out the color in the photo of the flight! It is very floral on the nose, with violets, plum, strawberry and cherry! Served slightly chilled, this would be a great “patio pounder” in the summertime!
Next up is the Land & Reed “Two-Fourteen” Cabernet Franc. Two-Fourteen is the name of the clone used from Chinon in the Loire Valley. Land & Reed does a lovely job of keeping an Old World feel to this wine, with lots of blueberry, raspberry and floral. Land & Reed was one of the first wineries to do a 100% Cab Franc from a Napa vineyard.
The 2013 Farella Merlot from the Coombsville AVA is lovely. This dark ruby colored Merlot has lots of blue fruit and cherry with great acidity. It’s not a big fruit bomb, but it has softness and a depth that makes this a great food wine! This is my kind of Merlot!
I’m a huge fan of Syrah, so I was excited to see the Lagier Meredith (a favorite producer of mine when it comes to Syrah in the New World) being poured! The 2012 Lagier Meredith Mt. Veeder Syrah speaks of place. Ahhhh. The lovely earthiness is almost garrigue like! This wine has a meatiness and olive essence that I so love about Syrah. The fruit is lovely too! There is black cherry and black currant, along with some licorice. This is definitely a complex and dignified wine! I wish I had a glass right now!
So … as you can see there is a lot more to Napa than Cabernet Sauvignon. Do the Napa appellations make a great Cab? Heck yes. But this tasting reminded me that they make a lot of great wine from a lot of different varietals!