Californian wines have come a long way from being perceived as a ‘poor man’s substitute for good wine’ to command its own place in the world. Winemakers and vineyards from Napa and Sacremento valleys regularly feature at international competitions and have won many accolades.
The wines we have for you today are among the very best from Napa Valley, one of the most well-known wine regions of the world.
Napa Valley AVA, California
Region: Just like the DOCG classification of France, an American Viticultural Area (AVA) is a designated wine grape-growing region in the United States. It is distinguishable by geographic features, and its boundaries are defined by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) of the United States Department of the Treasury.
Climate: Napa, and California in general, has a Mediterranean climate. The geography and geology of the region contribute massively to the conduciveness to raising quality wine grapes. In addition to that, several mesoclimates (restricted to tens or hundreds of meters) exist within the AVA due to various weather and geographical influences. Due to its proximity to the San Pablo Bay, the open southern end is cooler during the grape ripening season, while the northern end remains much warmer. The eastern end is quite arid due to its proximity to the desert and also since it is on the leeward side of the Rockies. The southern end of the valley has soil rich in sediments, while the northern end is mostly volcanic.
Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Price: INR 800
Grape: Sauvignon Blanc
Color: Clear, off-pale with a golden tint
Nose: Ripe pears, fresh lemongrass and lot of citrusy freshness of grapefruti are dominant in this medium-bodied Sauvignon Blanc.
Palate: The palate reinforces the freshness of the nose with notes of ripe pears and lemongrass with an added citrusy zing to them. It is wonderfully aromatic and juicy with the added notes of grapefruit on the mid-palate, and some figs and mild minerality (which is seen quite a few other products from Napa Valley) on the end palate.
Serving Temperature: 9-12ºC
Food Pairing: It is perhaps the most versatile wine from the Napa region. Pairs well with red meat dishes like Rogan Josh, light aromatic curries like chicken curry, prawn curry, spicy tikkas, Hyderabadi biryani, pork vindaloo, Malvani fish, chicken and goat curries, Bengali fish curries, spicy vegetable dishes, and fresh summery salads.
Notes: If you’ve had a pre-set perception about wines from Napa Valley, the KJ Vintner’s Reserve Sauvignon Blanc will change that for you. It is one of the finest examples of new-world winemakers taking on the challenge of creating something wonderful with an old-world grape. Finding a bottle of this wine, however, is still slightly challenging and the best bet is duty-free shops for now.
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Style: Dry, with soft and supple tannins
Grape: 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, 2% Malbec
Color: Dark, ruby red
Nose: Black cherries and plums dominate the nose, complemented with hints of vanilla and rosemary
Palate: This dry red wine from California is a perfect blend of fruity and earthy flavours on the palate. The palate mirrors the nose with notes of black cherries and ripe, black plums with tremendous amounts of fruitiness that is well complemented by earthy notes of rosemary and hints of black pepper and cinnamon on the end palate. The tannins are soft and supple, never overpowering the fruitiness of the wine at any point. The finish is medium to long with added spice and dark chocolate notes.
Serving Temperature: Best serving temperature hovers between 12-15ºC for Indian summers
Food Pairing: Pairs well with steaks, light curries, kebabs, Awadhi biryani, tandoori chicken, and lightly spiced chicken tikkas. Actually, pair it with anything lightly spiced with aromatic spices like cinnamon, black cardamoms, black peppers, nutmeg, star anise etc.
Notes: This is one wine that is sort of hard to find in the Indian market. However, if you do find it, especially at the duty-free shops, do get yourself at least one bottle of this fabulous wine and you will not regret that decision.