Sunday, June 17, 2012

Rolling hills of Napa

In 1976, the region got a boost from the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976, which featured a Napa Valley Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon besting several famous French labels in a blind tasting format. The results of this tasting cemented the region's reputation as a producer of world class wines.
A modern outbreak of phylloxera was discovered in the valley in 1983 in a vineyard planted with AxR1 rootstock. Many growers seized upon this outbreak as an opportunity to switch to varieties that were better suited to the climate and soil. By the late 1990s nearly 75% of the affected vineyards had been replanted with phylloxera resistant rootstock. The growers in the region are currently channeling their energy to battle the Glassy-winged sharpshooter, a non-native pest that carries Pierce's disease.
Today Napa Valley features more than 450 wineries that grow grape varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Zinfandel, among others. While winemakers may produce wines from specific AVAs within the valley, many wines are made as a blend from grapes grown on the valley floor and the surrounding hillsides.

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