Bound by the Mayacamas Mountains on the west and the Vaca Mountains on the east, Napa Valley is an elongated stretch of land that treads north to south through the iconic countryside of central California. Mount St. Helena, the tallest mountain in the region at 4343’, closes off the valley to the north. Temperatures gradually cool toward the south as the marine layer from San Pablo Bay blows inland and the natural terrian shelters the temperate air from the hot central valley.
Colliding plate tectonics, volcanic activity, and constantly changing sea levels have bestowed Napa Valley with over 30 different types of soil, the most common including thin volcanic crust, marine sandstone, shale, and in some places serpentine. Residual volcanic activity is evident throughout Napa Valley in numerous hot springs and geothermal vents, such as the Old Faithful geyser in Calistoga.
Napa Valley Map
Within the Napa Valley appellation exist 15 subappellations, or American Viticultural Areas (AVAs), which include:
- Atlas Peak
- Chiles Valley District
- Diamond Mountain District
- Howell Mountain
- Los Carneros
- Mt. Veeder
- St. Helena
- Spring Mountain District
- Stags Leap District
- Wild Horse Valley
- Oak Knoll District
- Calistoga (pending approval)
Napa Syrah Characteristics
Cabernet Sauvignon grapes take up most of the red wine acreage in Napa Valley, as it commands a higher price, but Napa Syrah effortly displays trademark varietal characteristics such as black pepper and dried herb. Aromas and flavors tend toward black fruit with occasional smoked bacon and earth notes. Napa Syrah grown at higher elevations, such as Atlas Peak and Howell Mountain, exhibit firmer tannin and more smoke and game. Northern Napa Syrah, sourced from warmer areas like Calistoga and St. Helena, tend to show lush fruit with exotic spices such as anise and cinnamon. Wines from souther appleations, such as Los Carneros, tend to be leaner with dried herb and floral notes.
JC Cellars Napa Syrah Vineyards
Caldwell Vineyard - Napa Valley Syrah
Caldwell Vineyard sits 500 feet above sea level, giving panoramic views of Napa Valley, the Mayacamas, and Vacas. Grapes were first planted at the Caldwell site in 1982 with cuttings brought into the country using "creative" means. The weather at Caldwell Vineyards has a lot of similarities to its neighboring AVA, Carneros. This vineyard yields wines with a roasted red pepper and sun-baked earth quality, while also carrying flavor profiles of blackberry pie. More Images of Caldwell Vineyard
Stagecoach Vineyard - Napa Valley Syrah
Stagecoach Vineyard is an impressive mountain planting, stretching from the westernmost regions of Atlas Peak all the way to the east overlooking Oakville. Syrah is planted on the south and west facing slopes of the rocky, volcanic terrain. The combination of cool nights and warm days allows for superb complexity and optimal hang time to create wine with true varietal expression. Unique flavor characteristics include graphite minerality and roasted earth components intertwined with blackberry preserves and floral elements. More Images of Stagecoach Vineyard