Napa Valley Then & Now by Kelli A. White is a massive tome that’s part history and part review of all that is Napa Valley. The pages are glossy, the design simply organized and the pictures quietly captivating, making it hard to look away. The first section of the book has a brief history of Napa Valley and all of its AVAs, complete with detailed black and white historical photos. It also includes instructions for how to read the “wine gauge,” which is employed in the latter pages to “communicate where a particular wine is currently at in its flavor evolution.”
The majority of the book concerns itself with the wines of Napa Valley—sharing their stories and including a “wine gauge” review of each individual winery’s vintages. Despite the breadth of knowledge that the book encompasses (and its not unremarkable size) the information itself is concise. It’s a beautiful showpiece that deserves a place of honor in every wine lover’s collection.
Remember that one guidebook that was so essential you never were able to go anywhere without it? The Wine Bible, Second Edition by Karen MacNeil is a lot like that. With more than half a million copies sold, the numbers almost speak for themselves—but I’ll add a few more. Throughout the volume, the tone stays conversational, telling you all you never knew about wine (but always wished that you did), making you an expert in a matter of minutes. Starting with a history of wine and how it’s made, it then leaps into all one needs to know about the world’s best wine regions. At the very end of each regional section, there’s a short “wines to know” section, which reviews the best vintages from various wineries. This book is wonderfully engaging and well worth the read. Everyone will have something to learn, whether you consider yourself a beginner or a connoisseur.
Several North Bay wines made it onto Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2015, with one impressive release even snagging the number one spot. Congratulations to all!
1. Peter Michael Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville Au Paradis (2012)
12. Limerick Lane Zinfandel Russian River Valley (2012)
19. Dehlinger Pinot Noir Russsian River Valley Altamont (2013)
20. Meiomi Pinot Noir Monterey-Sonoma-Santa Barbara Counties (2013)
35. Rombauer Chardonnay Carneros (2013)
57. Altamura Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley (2012)
59. Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley Rockaway Single Vineyard (2012)
60. Roederer Estate Brut Anderson Valley L’Ermitage (2007)
65. Chapellet Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Signature (2012)
78. Chateau St. Jean Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley (2012)
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