Atlas Peak Chardonnay 2002
Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is one of life’s great pleasures. Luscious berry fruit, multi-layered tannins, refined herbal notes and silky texture all combine to transport the wine lover to this incomparable California region, an area famous for long-lived red wines that offer wave after wave of drinking pleasure.
Some of the world’s best vineyards dot the mountain tops, hillsides, and lowlands of the Napa Valley. Framing the valley are the cornerstone mountain appellations of Atlas Peak, Howell Mountain, Spring Mountain District, and Mount Veeder. These areas provide ideal growing conditions for crafting bold, well-structured, ruggedly elegant wines—wines that can only come from great fruit and hard work in hard-to-reach places.
To craft the Atlas Peak Cabernet Sauvignon, the winemakers work closely with vineyard partners to source the finest grapes from mountaintop and lower-elevation vineyards. They weave the fruit into a richly textured tapestry supported by a firm structure—a true “taste of Napa.” This wine, with its substantial length and enduring finish, bears testament to the elegance and refinement of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production as well as tourism, the Napa Valley was responsible for bringing worldwide recognition to California winemaking. In the 1960s, a few key wine families settled the area and hedged their bets on the valley's world-class winemaking potential—and they were right.
The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980s, when producers scooped up vineyard lands and planted vines throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, and today Napa is home to hundreds of producers ranging from boutique to corporate. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Napa whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that claim specific characteristics based on situation, slope and soil. Farthest south and coolest from the influence of the San Pablo Bay is Carneros, followed by Coombsville to its northeast and then Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford. Above those are the warm St. Helena and the valley's newest and hottest AVA, Calistoga. These areas follow the valley floor and are known generally for creating rich, dense, complex and smooth reds with good aging potential. The mountain sub appellations, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs, include Stags Leap District, Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley (farther east), Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain District and Diamond Mountain District. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from a lot of time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.