Rutherford, Oakville, Atlas Peak, Howell Mountain… today, these storied subappellations of Napa Valley are synonymous with quality and collectability. As a wine producing region, Napa offers diversity of style, variety and source. As a travel destination, it represents luxury, elegance and world-class culinary trends.
But it wasn’t always so. Not long ago, Napa Valley was a smaller place, both for the wine lover and the tourist. Winemakers stayed close to Cabernet and Chardonnay, with little else of note making it onto the national market. Visitors to the area found a glamorized farming community, with dining options that were character laden, but often limited and early to close down for the night.
What happened? Napa evolved, along with the American wine consuming public. Beyond Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, varieties like Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir are now making their mark. And exploring the river walk and Oxbow Market in the town of Napa, checking off one after another star restaurants in Yountville or splurging on an innovative spa treatment in Calistoga, has put Napa on the hot list for any modern traveler.
California Editor Steve Heimoff drills down into modern Napa Valley Cabernet in his terroir-driven article. Dissecting the valley’s 16 subappellations, Heimoff’s piece reveals the incredible diversity of style within this category, including top examples and producers to look for.
Behind every good vintner are the grapes that make quality possible. Some of Napa valley’s famed growers are the focus of Roger Morris’s stunning portrait piece, revealing the artists that exist behind a veneer of farm-tough humility.
Growers are also the subject of European Editor Roger Voss’ French Champagne piece. Going straight to the source, wine lovers will find incredible quality, expression and a personal touch in the grower’s Champagnes outlined in Voss’ roundup.
On another note, healthy eating has become a focus in America with the Meatless Monday trend. We explore innovative wine-and-food pairings with vegetarian meals, helping you balance your quest for the best of plate and glass with a diet that won’t break the scale.