As you probably know, Northern California suffered a 6.0 Magnitude earthquake, with the epicenter near downtown Napa, this past Sunday morning. Thankfully, personal injuries were kept to a minimum, partly due to the 3:21am time of the quake, and no deaths have been directly associated with the natural disaster. Still, damage to historic buildings, homes, wineries, and wine storage facilities was in some cases severe. The cost to homes and businesses has preliminarily been estimated at $300 million, with the cost of the Napa wine industry yet to be determined.
Reports from friends and wineries in and around Napa are all very positive and upbeat. It sounds like an excitement for harvest is back in the air as the initial shock of the quake dissipates. Despite all the repairing and damage-gauging, everyone is keeping the losses in perspective. As cleanup and picking continue across the Napa Valley this Labor Day weekend, why not drink some Napa wine to show your support? I promise, it won’t hurt a bit.
Here’s a few ideas on what Napa wines to drink this holiday weekend:
Celebrate the fact that it’s still summer with the Domaine Carneros Brut Rose Carneros ($36.99). Made from mostly Pinot Noir, with some Chardonnay, this is a complex sparkling wine with flavors of flowers and berries. Snack on a big bowl of cherries and raspberries or pop it open to kick off your barbecue.
You don’t have to limit rosé drinking to summer but, let’s face it, many of the limited California rosés won’t be around much longer. Grab a bottle of 2013 Matthiasson Rose Napa Valley ($24.99) and bask in the delicate flavors of white peach, melon, and strawberry. Put out a plate of charcuterie and let happiness ensue.
If there’s a little chill in the air at the beach and you’re craving a white with some nice texture and body, but that’s also crisp and bright, look no further than the 2013 Massican Annia Napa Valley($27.99). This flavorful wine is a blend of Tocai Friulano, Ribolla Giallo, and Chardonnay and it’s my favorite vintage yet from winemaker Dan Petroski. The wine’s citrus and stone fruit notes and vibrant acidity stand up to fried foods, so a little fritto misto is in order.
The 2012 Clos Blancheau Chardonnay Napa Valley ($27.99) from the guys at Arnot-Roberts, is aged in all neutral oak and is very close to a ‘Chablis’ from California. Bright, with notes of lemon and flinty mineral, this is the perfect match for your clam bake or lobster boil.
Looking for something a little different? Try the 2012 Heitz Grignolino Napa Valley ($25.99). Believe it or not, Grignolino has been growing at the Heitz estate in Napa since the 60s! It’s a very light colored red that benefits from a chill and is just delicious with grilled pizza. The strawberry fruit flavors, along with floral and herbal notes, are a great match for a variety of toppings.
When most people think of Napa, they think Cabernet and the 2011 Ultraviolet Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley ($38.99) is one to savor. Samantha Sheehan of Poe wines started this label after getting her hands on some really great juice; this wine packs the hallmark black currant and tea leaf flavors along with a food-friendly acidity. Steak on the grill is the obvious choice.
If you’re more a fan of blends, pick up with 2009 Robert Sinskey POV Red Blend Napa Valley($39.99), a combination of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Consistently one of the best bangs for your buck out of Napa, you will think you are drinking a $60 wine. Supple, with cherry and dark plum flavors, an array of grilled foods – from chicken and lamb to steak and burgers – will make a match.
Enjoy your Labor Day weekend and remember to #DrinkNapa.