Winemakers from Napa Valley are on the prowl across Canada next week, with mass tastings organized in Toronto and Montreal to remind wine lovers why this region continues to be a source of amazing wine.
A reported 30 wineries are making the trek to promote their wines and the region at consumer and trade tastings, educational seminars and at a variety of dinners and other showcase events.
Best known for its stylish and structured Chardonnays and Cabernet Sauvignons, the Napa Valley is also the source for other distinctive wine styles, including Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and sparkling wine.
It’s a small region with a massive reputation. Although just four percent of California’s wine production comes from Napa, its name is likely the first conjured up when talk turns to great American wine regions. Last year, the Canadian government recognized the Napa Valley with a geographical indication status to protect its name and brand integrity.
They were the first American wine or spirit to be registered by the federal government. Any wine retailed in this country with Napa Valley on the label has to have Napa Valley wine in the bottle.
Such protection is necessary since the valley is synonymous with fine wine to the point that Napa is a four-letter word for the good life. Mere mention summons visions of rolling vineyards and elaborate wineries that are modern day cathedrals to Cabernet.
The presence of large-scale corporate wineries, including Robert Mondavi and Beringer Vineyards, tends overshadow the fact that 95% of the valley’s wineries are family owned. Many of those operations — large and small — export to Canada, which remains California wine’s largest market outside of the United States.
The flagship event in Toronto, which takes place October 21 at the Royal Ontario Museum, has been long sold out. But you can stage your own Napa Valley tasting with this week’s wine selections. Visit napavintners.com for more information about the valley and its wines.
WINES OF THE WEEK:
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Ghost Pines Winery 2010 Winemaker’s Blend Chardonnay
Sonoma County/Napa Valley, California
ON $19.95 (308122)
Ghost Pines is a label created by the venerable Napa Valley winery Louis M. Martini. It thrives by blending fruit from prime growing regions in California to produce enjoyable wines at fair prices. The flavourful and juicy reds are widely available (and also highly recommended), while this ripe and complex Chardonnay is a mainstay at liquor stores in Ontario. It’s a rich white tailor-made for sweater weather.
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Louis M Martini Winery 2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley, California
MB $30.38 (011585) | ON $29.95 (232371)
This splurge-worthy Cabernet boasts a pleasing core of fruit with appealing cedar and spice complexity. The silky texture and balanced character means it’s ready to drink now or over the next five years. Enjoy with roast lamb or beef to complete the recipe for a big night in.