David and Goliath.. But Like, For Wine.

Have you heard of Stags Leap District AVA before?

It is located within the Napa Valley AVA and produces some
of the best wine in the world!

It’s climate is hot and dry but benefits from cooling
influences from the San Pablo Bay, including cool afternoon breezes and rolling
morning fogs. This climate is perfect for producing high quality Cabernet
Sauvignon which makes up roughly 90% of the plantings in this district.

Have you heard of the Judgment of Paris??

This was a historic blind tasting done in Paris in 1976.  The purpose of this tasting was to compare classic French wines to new American wines in both the Cab Sav and Chardonnay varities. It was thought that no wine in the world could stand up to the classic French Bordeaux wines. But hey! At least this tasting could help America, particularly Napa, gain some exposure in the international market.

So they gathered 9 French highly qualified wine experts to
be the judges and the “Tasting of the Century” commenced!

This tasting pit California Chardonnay against the best of White Burgundy and California Cabernet Sauvignon against the best of Bordeaux, particularly the houses of Chateaux Haut Brion and Mouton Rothschild. In an astonishing feat David overtook Goliath and California came out on top in BOTH categories! (The wine that took the top ranking in the red category was from what would eventually become Stags Leap District AVA!)

This dramatically changed the course for the American wine industry! What had started off as a low profile tasting blossomed into a full-fledged media frenzy! This tasting peaked interest in California wines both internationally and domestically. And was the catalyst for allowing a free flowing exchange of best practices and ideas from either side of the pond.

I think it’s safe to say that without this tasting Napa
would still be producing unreal wines. But this coverage and media exposure
definitely sealed its place on the international wine map firmly and forever!

It helped to bring investments and new start up wineries into the area which helped it grow into the icon that Napa Valley is today! I guess you could say that little David grow up big and strong!

I hope you enjoyed this fun bit of history! I’m looking forward to the next time I get my hands on a bottle of wine from this region!

Have you had a chance to try anything from Stags Leap District? Let me know in the comments!

Love You Lots,

M.H. Alexandra

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