Friday, January 30, 2015

The Calistoga AVA.

 
There is no doubt that the Napa Valley is a very picturesque place.  However, a lot of visitors I run into do complain of being disappointed with the town of Napa itself.  I point out to them that Napa is a functioning town that has to support a fairly sizeable population (approx. 80,000 peeps) and therefore it has to service that population with such untouristy features as an auto row, big-box stores and strip malls.
Of all the AVA sign photographs that I have posted up till now, this Calistoga AVA sign, on the corner of Highway 29 and Larkmead Lane, has to have the most unlovely of dispositions.  There are other Calistoga AVA signs that I could have photographed in much prettier settings, but this one makes me laugh.  Like some cavalier afterthought, this sign was plonked down in the most unprepossessing of locations.  I think the oval wine-coloured AVA signs are of a rather fetching design, but this Calistoga sign is being outcompeted by a slightly mangled chain-link fence, the yellow safety shield on a guy-wire (stabilizing a utility pole) and a red sign warning of an underground telephone cable (which I cropped out).  Funny!
Grapevines were first planted in Calistoga (also known for its sparkling water, hot springs and mud baths) in 1862 by Samuel Brannan, a Mormon settler and businessman.  Dominated by a single soil type - volcanic (or, as the successful petition for AVA status reads, "volcanic bedrock overlain with lava flows, ash-fall tuffs, welded tuffs, pyroclastic flows and mudflows"), Calistoga was listed in a viticultural census as long ago as 1893.  Calistoga, in the summer months, has the most dramatic diurnal shift in the Napa Valley, a 50°F (often more) day-to-night change in temperature.
Calistoga was granted AVA status in 2010.  The  contentious petition to the Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) was initially proposed by Bo Barrett (of Chateau Montelena and Judgement of Paris/Bottle Shock fame) in 2003 and resulted in the temporary cessation of all AVA petitions until the TTB could complete a top-to-bottom review of AVA rules.  Sheesh!  Some people can get so tetchy over alcohol, money and politics.
Notable wineries for me in this AVA are; Clos Pegase Winery, Frank Family Vineyards (I recently had their sparkling wine, they call it Rogue Champagne, which I didn't even know they made and it was delicious), Larkmead Vineyards, Madrigal Family Vineyards, Schramsberg Vineyards and Vincent Arroyo Winery.
Eight down, eight to go

6 comments:

Thud said...

Mud baths...pah!

Vinogirl said...

Thud: Glad you have experience of the mud baths and I don't!

Thud said...

an underwhelming experience, if I want mud I could work in England....oh I do!

Vinogirl said...

Thud: Hmmm, you won't like my post today then!

Dennis Tsiorbas said...

VG: Since you've been into Grenach, and you mentioned Bo Barrett, I thought you might like to know that the home of the “Le Barrettage” wine, has now released their very own 2012 La Sirena Grenache> Just saying!

Vinogirl said...

NHW: Y'know thanks, but I think I'm going to try to steer clear of domestic Grenache for now. I really need to go Châteauneuf-du-Pape for a while.