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Wilson Foreigner Rancho Chimiles Napa Valley Valdiguie 2015
David grew up on the family ranch, Rancho Chimiles, and resides there now with his wife, Christine, and their two children. Rancho Chimiles is located in the Wooden Valley area of Napa and is home to the fruit you have tasted in many Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Pahlmeyer, Favia, The Prisoner, Cruse Wine Company, and other wines.
Chris and Suzaan are the proprietors and winemakers of Alheit Vineyards which is based throughout the Western Cape of South Africa, where they reside with their two children.
The two couples worked to gain experience at some of the most prestigious vineyards and winery estates in the world. Then, on the ten-year anniversary of that harvest in South Africa, Chris picked up the phone to tell David it was time for the foursome to create a label together, and Wilson Foreigner was born.
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 1960's, 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 1980's, 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 is 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.
Valdiguié is native to southwest France but also maintains a fairly substantial history in California. Given its high-yielding capacity, Valdiguié became very popular during the Prohibition. Until 1980 Californians called it Napa Gamay because of its similarities to Gamay as a finished wine. But in that year, a French ampelographer, Pierre Galet correctly identified it as Valdiguié and not Gamay. Today it still grows in pockets of respected appellations throughout the state. In France it is also goes by the name of Gros Auxerrois.
Fresh pomegranate, watermelon, blueberry and baking spice are common in Valdiguié. The wine is usually pretty simple but nonetheless totally enjoyable. It’s a great red to serve slightly chilled on a hot day.