Tasting the Napa Valley Appellations

There are various regions throughout Napa Valley that possess distinct microclimates and terrains, with recognizable characteristics that can be found on the grapes grown within them.  Over the years as we’ve tasted more and more wines from the Napa Valley region, we have discovered that we gravitate to certain valleys more than others.  The soil, daily sunlight, wind, swings in temperature and slope of vineyard all impact the flavor profile.  On our recent trip to Napa, we visited some of our favorites in the more mountainous regions. 

Mount Veeder – Hess Collection

2008 Mount Veeder 19 Block Cuvee

(69% Cab Sauv, 13% Malbec, 8% Syrah, 8% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot, 1% Cab Franc)

This wine has aromas of black cherry compote and ripe plum with hints of vanilla and spice.  A silky, berry taste with rich tannins fills the mouth, with a lengthy finish ~ would pair well with a spicy flat iron steak.

2008 Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon

(82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec, 8% Merlot)

Full body, with a long, silky finish, this wine is full of aromas of toffee and wild berries.  It has a rich mid-palate and full of tannins.  It’s a big cab that could age up to 10 years.


Howell Mountain - Cade

2008 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon – 92 points by Robert Parker

(96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot) 

A cab with a powerful punch, this wine has aromas of black fruit and a little smoke.  On the palate, dense flavors of black cherry, baker’s chocolate, and a touch of herbs, and finishes with well-structured tannins and acidity that will allow the wine to age well for 5-10 years. It’s a screw cap!


2009 Howell Mountain Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

(100% Cabernet Sauvignon)

This one earned our “pfg” rating.  Aromas of black cherry and dark chocolate that carry through to the palate bringing in flavors of espresso and cardamom, which balance with the deep, round tannins.  This wine would benefit from aging 5-10 years.


Wonder what appellation would appeal to you?  Here’s a quick description of flavor profiles typically produced from some of the more popular areas:

Howell Mountain – powerful, firm, richly tannic, with blackberry-currant flavors

Mount Veeder – tannic backbone with dark fruit and floral flavors & aromas

Rutherford – subtle tannins, with tastes of mineral, earthy & cherry

St. Helena – deep and ripe, “chewy” and round with flavors of currant, blackberry & chocolate

Spring Mountain – powerful, tight, richly tannic & mineral-y, red fruit notes, good acidity for aging

Stags Lead District – lush and velvety, with soft tannins and perfumes of cherry and red berry

Yountville - Ripe but supple, with firm tannins and aromas of violets and black raspberry

Posted on May 6, 2012 and filed under Wine Discoveries.