Yountville AVA Napa Valley

Yountville is named after George Yount who first planted a vineyard in the Napa Valley in 1836 in the area now known as NapaNook. Not only is Yountville known for its vineyards, it also is home to one of the finest restaurants in the World, Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry. There are other fine restaurants in the area including Ad Hoc, Bistro Jeanty, Redd, Bottega and Bouchon.

Although Yountville is a lesser known sub-appellation or AVA (American Viticultural Area) of the World-famous Napa Valley, it possesses a unique combination of climate and terroir that results in the production of magnificent Cabernet Sauvignon as well as other varietals. Relevant statistics are:

Climate: Mid-summer peak temperatures may reach 90°F (31°C), with night-time lows in the mid-50°F range (13°C).

Elevation: 20 to 200 ft (6 to 61m) Rainfall: 32 inches (80 cm) annually

Soils: Principally gravelly silt loams, sedimentary in origin, and gravelly alluvial soils with rock, moderately fertile.

Acres Total: 8,000

Acres Planted to Vines: 4,000

Varietals Produced: Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Zinfandel

Based on its unique soil and climatological data, Yountville was granted Appellation status in 1999. As with all AVAs, a minimum of 85% Yountville grapes must be used in the bottle to have the Yountville AVA cited on the label.

The following are some of the outstanding wineries in the Yountville AVA, including notes from a recent tasting (2-21-19).

Key to wine varietals:

CS = Cabernet Sauvignon

M = Merlot

PV = Petite Verdot

S = Syrah


Kapcsandy Family Winery, State Lane Vineyards:

2016 Estate Cuvee, Cabernet Sauvignon (CS): 84% CS, 16% M. A big, rich delicious wine with plenty of concentrated fruit and a firm balance of moderately soft tannin. The wine needs time to equilibrate. Try again in 6 years.

2015 Roberta’s Reserve: 100% M. This is a big, juicy Merlot with multi-layered richness and complexity. An extremely well-integrated and balanced wine. Wait 5 years to try again.

Corley Family:

2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, Lot 64 “Five Points.”  This auction wine is insanely delicious! Unfortunately, that’s all the notes I have.

Grgich Hills Estate:

2017 Cabernet Sauvignon: 97% CS, 3% PV. Big, bold delicious Cab with huge richness, multilayer flavors, and a long, soft finish. Outstanding potential. An auction wine.

Gemstone Vineyard:

2016 Cabernet Sauvignon: 85% or more CS. Very approachable for a young Cab. Excellent balance of fruit and tannins. Budding complexity in the body and finish of the wine. Try again in 3 years.

Ad Vivum Cellars:

2015 Cabernet Sauvignon: 100% CS, 56% Clone 7, 44% Clone 191. An excellent wine with exceptional balance of fruit and tannins. Possesses the requisite structure and filling to evolve into a beauty. Try again in 5 years.

2016 Cabernet Sauvignon: 100% CS. Similar to 2015 but maybe more precocious. Another exceptional wine.

Rocca Family Vineyards:

2014 Tesorina (Little Treasure): 100% CS. An outstanding wine with all the right stuff. Great color, seductive aromas, big fruit, silky tannins, long finish, and the potential to get even better with proper aging. Wow!

2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Grigsby Vineyard, Yountville: 100% CS. An excellent wine with rich fruit, with firm but balanced tannins, and a long finish. Budding complexity is evident and signals a bright future for this Cab. Try again in 5 years.

2014 Syrah, Grigsby Vineyard, Yountville: 100% S. An enticing purple color leads to a lush, rich, balanced mouth-feel of exquisite Syrah. You can drink this wine now, but will be even better in 5 years with proper cellaring.