From where does Napa Valley get its name?

2/20/2017

Many people know that Napa Valley region is named after the Napa River that runs through the length of the valley. The Napa River in turn got its name from the indigenous Wappo Indians who lived there. The word Napa has been translated variously as “grizzly bear,” “house,” or “Motherland” Of all these definitions there is still dispute as to which was the source, but most believe the Patwin word for napo meaning house is the origin. Interestingly, another Wapoo word: Napayoko (na pa yó ko) means madrone berries and they look surprisingly like grape clusters, green in summer and turning to a juicy red in the fall.

What is the difference between Chablis and Chardonnay?

Like all fine white Burgundy, Chablis is made from Chardonnay grapes. Chablis is made only in the area around the town of Chablis located in the most northern area of Burgundy. The area is extremely rocky with dense limestone deposits giving the wine its distinct flavor. Some wines made in the U.S. and in other countries have used the “Chablis” name on their labels. But don't be fooled, these wines are generally inexpensive and are more sweet blends not made entirely of Chardonnay grapes and, except for color, usually do not resemble anything close to the dry white Chablis of France.

True or False, Napoleon preferred white wine to red?

False. Napoleon's favorite wine was from Le Chambertin Vineyard in Burgundy, which still grows 25 acres of Pinot Noir each year.


Originally published in our Gold Wine Club's The Wine Press, Michael Pozzan Wines edition.