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St Helena Wineries And Wines

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Many famous St Helena Wineries are located in the Northern Napa Valley. The town of St Helena is extremely beautiful and exudes a sense of leisure and well-being. This small hamlet encompasses about 4 square miles and has about 6000 residents. Highway 29 cuts right through the town and is named Main Street within the city limits.

A drive down Main Street is truly worthwhile as the architecture and buildings seem to bring you back to an earlier time. Robert Louis Stevenson resided in the town during the late nineteenth century, and was entirely captivated by the area’s inherent charm and beauty.

History of St Helena Wineries

St Helena has historically been the commercial center in the largely agricultural Northern Napa Valley. As the wine industry has grown, the town continues to be a quaint business center that boasts restaruants, wineries, and shopping destinations.

One of the first St Helena Wineries to be established was the legendary Charles Krug Winery in the 1850s. The winery was founded in the 1850s by Charles Krug, a German immigrant. Unfortunately, the facility went out of business at the onset of Prohibition.

Cesare Mondavi bought and restored the winery in 1943 with his two sons, Peter and Robert. Peter bought out Robert’s stake in the winery after a bitter family feud. Peter currently produces over 1 million cases of wine a year, most of it value-driven. Of the quality wines produced by Charles Krug, their Sangiovese has gained the most accolades.

St Helena Wineries And Wines

Beringer was founded in 1876 by two brothers who emmigrated from Germany. The winery’s current large base of inexpensive production gives them abundant capital to made some truly premium wines. The Beringer 2001 Private Reserve Chardonnay is a powerhouse of a white wine that is sure to impress. Fans of big Chardonnays will adore this wine.

Terroir of St Helena Wineries

Located north of Rutherford and south of Calistoga, the Napa Valley narrows considerably in St Helena. Temperatures are significantly warmer here than in more southern parts of the valley. The AVA also recieves more rainfall than more southern parts of Napa Valley, although it is generally more sporadic from year to year.

The maximum elevation of the St Helena AVA is 400 feet. The famed, “Rutherford Bench” ends south of the region, although the vineyards in the western part of the AVA still produce excellent Cabernet Sauvignon. These sights are very well drained, but considerably steeper than their Rutherford counterparts.

St Helena Wineries, Wines, and Varietals

St Helena Wineries are best known for producing Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Syrah. There are also some excellent examples of Cabernet Franc based blends from St Helena. Duckhorn is a famous winery located in the AVA and is best known for its exquisite Merlots.

Merryvale was started in 1983 with substantial financial backing. They make 50,000 cases of wine a year. The Merryvale 2000 Profile Red is a classic Bordeaux blend that uses the winery’s best Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Verdot, and Cabernet Franc. I found this wine to be very well-balanced and satisfying. It is also quite a bit less expensive than many other high-end Bordeaux type blends from the Napa Valley.

Merryvale is also renowned for producing single-vineyard Chardonnay. The Merryvale 2000 Dutton Ranch Chardonnay is sourced from their Russian River Valley Vineyards. It has just enough oak to deliver an amount of richness on the palate. This is counter-balanced by crisp fruit flavors and aromas.

Other noteable St Helena Wineries include Sutter Home, Turley, and V. Sattui.