Antica Napa Valley may be one of Napa Valley’s newer wineries, but its roots go back to 14th century Tuscany, when Giovanni di Piero Antinori, who had worked in the silk trade, decided to join the winemakers’ guild and make wine. By the 16th century Antinoris were acquiring vineyards in Tuscany and Umbria and selling their wine throughout Europe. Today the business is run by Marchese Piero Antinori and his three daughters, and it is one of Italy’s largest and most successful wine producers known for such Super Tuscans as Tignanello and Solaia. Antica stands for “Antinori California” and it was founded in 1985 when the Antinoris first bought land on a high plain on the eastern edge of the Stag’s Leap District of Napa Valley. Since then the family has bought more Napa vineyards, and they now own more than 500 acres in Napa Valley. The first commercial release was the 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon. The first Antica Chardonnay was released in 2007.
Napa Valley AVA is the most famous winemaking region in the United States and one of the most prestigious in the world. With nearly 43,000 acres of vineyards and more than 300 wineries, it is the heart of fine wine production in the United States. Winemaking started in Napa in 1838 when George C. Yount planted grapes and began producing wine commercially. Other winemaking pioneers followed in the late 19th century, including the founders of Charles Krug, Schramsberg, Inglenook and Beaulieu Vineyards. An infestation of phylloxera, an insect that attacks vine roots, and the onset of Prohibition nearly wiped out the nascent Napa wine industry in the early 20th century. But by the late 1950s and early 1960s Robert Mondavi and other visionaries were producing quality wines easily distinguishable from the mass-produced jug wines made in California’s Central Valley. Napa Valley’s AVA was established in 1983, and today there are 16 sub-appellations within the Napa Valley AVA. Many grapes grow well in Napa’s Mediterranean climate, but the region is best known for Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay is also very successfully cultivated, and about 30% of the AVA’s acreage is planted to white grapes, with the majority of those grapes being Chardonnay,
One of the most widely grown grape varieties, it can be found in nearly every wine growing region. A cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. It’s a hardy vine that produces a full-bodied wine with high tannins and great aging potential.