Napa’s Underrated Appellation Shows Off Its Chops
Among all the various Napa Valley sub-appellations, some stand out more than others and possess more prestige than others. I’m thinking of Oakville, Rutherford, Stag’s Leap District, Howell Mountain and Spring Mountain. These are the top-tier sub appellations when it comes to recognition. Then you have the next tier of recognition: Atlas Peak, Mount Veeder, Calistoga, Carneros, Coombsville. Oak Knoll, Yountville. Lesser known, yet they are every bit a part of the vastly more famous and valuable and larger American Viticultural Area in which they all reside: Napa Valley.
Of all these “second tier” sub appellations, Saint Helena is probably the most under appreciated and under recognized despite the fact that its area sits right in the heart of Napa Valley, has been around officially as an AVA since 1995 and has within its appellation borders some of the Valley’s most famous names and vineyards of great fame.
Yet, still, Oakville, Rutherford and Stag’s Leap District get all the love. My theory as to why the Saint Helena AVA doesn’t get the same kind of love as these others is that when people think about “Saint Helena” they don’t think about wine. They think about the cute little town of that name after which the appellation gets its name. They think about the town’s restaurants and hotels. They don’t think immediately about wine. The appellation association that promotes the area should do something about that.
And what do you know:
Each year the members of Appellation Saint Helena hold a couple appellation tastings, the standard walk around tastings where you can sip on the members’ wines from the appellation. But once a year, the appellation association throws a bASH:
bASH: An Annual Food and Wine Pairing Competition. This event pairs up local restaurants chef teams from the Culinary Institute of America with member wineries to create food and wine pairings. Attendees vote on the best. GREAT EVENT!!! FUN EVENT!!. And, don’t make dinner reservations for afterwards.
bAsh takes place this Saturday, April 13th from 6pm to 9pm at the Culinary Institute of America.
BUY TICKETS HERE
Jeff Blaum, a Saint Helena local and one of the Valley’s truly great and inexhaustive hospitality and marketing pros, chairs the event. For many years Jeff worked out at Chase Cellars where he put that winery on the map as one of the must visit off the beaten path wineries in the Valley. When I talked to him about the upcoming bASH food and wine pairing competition he told me: ”
“Tom, If you have any desire to eat anything more after this event…or into the next day…. I’ll buy!”
Jeff isn’t the exaggerating type!!