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7 Stellar Cabernet Sauvignons From Napa Valley’s Atlas Peak Area

7 Stellar Cabernet Sauvignons From Napa Valley’s Atlas Peak Area

With its high vineyard elevations and volcanic soils, the Atlas Peak AVA on the east side of Napa Valley offers a unique microclimate for the Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and other varieties grown there. First planted with grapes in 1870 and officially recognized as an American Viticultural Area in 1992, it is the birthplace of some of the finest wines coming out of Napa Valley. Close to San Pablo Bay and therefor cooler than other areas in the valley, it also receives less rainfall than most of the neighboring AVAs. Although there are several large vineyards on its west-facing slopes, you will also note cattle grazing on its parched landscape.

Most vineyards here sit at over 1,400 feet of elevation, with vines ranging in altitude from 760 feet to 2,600 feet in altitude. Despite long hours of sunlight that aid in ripeness, vineyard altitude brings on cooler nighttime temperatures to retain freshness and acidity in the grapes. Porous volcanic soil cools down rather quickly once the sun sets, adding another layer to the diurnal temperature affect. That said, daytime temperatures on Atlas Peak during the summer are on average 10° to 15° F lower than those on the valley floor, which also helps to maintain acidity levels. Almost half of the AVA’s 1,500 acres of vineyards cultivate Cabernet Sauvignon. Second most popular here is Chardonnay, accounting for around 10 percent of the grapes grown, with the remainder divided among many other varieties including Merlot, Zinfandel, Syrah, and Sauvignon Blanc. There are around a dozen wineries on the mountain and many other wineries throughout Napa Valley and Sonoma that source grapes from Atlas Peak’s high-flying vines.

Source: Robb Report

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