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Duck Breast with Blueberry-Cabernet Sauce

Duck Breast with Blueberry-Cabernet Sauce

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The Wines of Napa

‘Land of Plenty’ is what Napa meant to the region’s original inhabitants, the Wappo Indians.

Although relatively small in size, Napa is big in reputation. From Los Carneros in the south to Calistoga and Howell Mountain in the north, from Mount Veeder in the west to Chiles Valley in the east, Napa produces dozens of major grape varieties. But here, Cabernet is king. The gravel on Napa’s benchlands and the volcanic tufa on its mountainsides are typically well-drained soils that produce low-vigor vines – an optimal combination for growing quality Cabernet Sauvignon.

Soil, microclimate, elevation, sun exposure and distance from the cooling influence of San Pablo Bay vary greatly across Napa’s sub-appellations. Moving toward the Northern half of Napa Valley – and away from the Pacific Ocean – warm, sunny days give Napa’s grape varieties ample time to ripen, while the cooling effect of nighttime marine fog lets them retain excellent acidity. The lush, jammy attributes of Napa fruit are evident in Napa Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Winemakers turn to Napa for its world-class Chardonnay grapes, renowned for their complex aromas and bright acidity. The Chardonnay gets its rich notes of baked apple from warm-climate vineyards in Napa.