Napa Valley: Wine Tasting By Grape

Napa Valley: Wine Tasting By Grape

Although there are wineries all over the world, but not many compare to the experience of wine tasting in Napa Valley. Napa Valley is home to over 400 wineries (600 if you include Sonoma). However, with such a wide selection, it can be hard to plan a trip to Napa Valley if you aren’t a wine connoisseur. Most wineries specialize in a type of wine. What’s really the difference though, right? Some are a little dryer, some a bit more bitter. Here are a list of the more well-known types of Napa wines, and their characteristics, so next time you are planning your Napa Valley wine tours you know which wineries are geared towards you!

Cabernet Sauvignon is dubbed as the “King” of red grapes in Napa Valley. Accounting for 40% of Napa’s total production and 55% of their crop value, it is grown all over the Valley. The taste of the grape really depends on the location of its vineyard. A Cab will feature a variety of flavors including: black fruits (including currant, cherry and plum) and often shows notes of spice from oak aging. A younger Cabernet matches finely with robust red meat dishes such as game and braised lame while an older Cab is pure perfection with prepared roasts, steaks and aged cheeses.

Chardonnay is the second most planted grape variety in Napa Valley and successfully grows due to the calcium-rich soils and cool climate of the Los Carneros AVA, where it can ripen slowly. Having been known as the winemakers grape, few wines exhibit the flavors created by winemaking practives like this Burgundian grape variety. With techniques like: barrel fermentation, lees stirring (which consists of stirring the dead yeast cells back into suspension during the maturation period) and malolactic fermentation, winemakers are able to create complex aromas and flavors in Chardonnay. Chardonnay can range in style from fresh, crisp and lively to rich, round and buttery. Due to the wide variety of tastes of Chardonnay, it can pair nicely with a variety of dishes from simply prepared seafoods to most pork and poultry dishes.

Bordeaux is an automatic go-to when looking for a good Merlot, but in the past few years, Napa Valley has proven to make an excellent variety of Merlots. Merlot is the second most planted red variety after Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa Valley. Its aromas of ripe cherry and rich earthiness, and a soft texture and smooth finish have become the liking of a new generation of red wine drinkers. It has also been used as a blending partner to add body and soft fruit to the more structured and tannic Cabernet Sauvignon. With all of the diversity in soil, and winemaking techniques, Merlot has proven to be capable of creating both lighter and full bodied wines. Pairing perfectly with basically the same dishes as a Cabernet, Merlot can really go with anything due to its lighter body.

So, now that you have the basis on which grapes produce the kind of wine you prefer, you can now start your Napa Valley adventure! One of the most crucial parts of visiting Napa Valley, aside from lodging, is the transportation aspect. There are rental cars available at the nearby airports, but when wine tasting it is always better to be safe than sorry and avoid driving. Plus, that relieves some off the stress about needing to limit your drinking due to driving. Relax and let Strack Premier Transportation take care of all your transportation needs while visiting Napa. We have a full fleet of cars, which can accommodate any type of group. From a standard sedan for just you and your sweetie, to a mini coach bus if you’re visiting for a Bachelor/Bachelorette party! Contact us today to book your next Napa Valley Winery Tour at 888-781-5466 or email us at RESERVE@STRACKTRANSPORTATION.COM and one of our specialized reservationists will get back to you as soon as possible. Cheers!