Images Courtesy of Suzanne Becker Bronk
The Coombsville AVA is a Napa Valley Appellation with a wide range of elevations and known for its cooler, marine influenced climate directly east of the City of Napa. It was officially designated as a Napa Valley sub-appelation in 2011.
Tucked into the foothills of the Vaca Mountains, the Coombsville AVA is a Napa Valley Appellation known for its temperate climate directly east of the City of Napa and was officially designated as a Napa Valley sub-appelation 2011. Coombsville is Napa Valley’s newest nested appellation and remains one of the least visited. This is because it is composed primarily of vineyards with only the occasional winery. Coombsville spreads out to the west of the town of Napa and up the slopes of Mt. George. The vast majority of vineyards spread across a west-facing concave bowl formed through millenia of landslides. The soil is primarily volcanic in origin and proximity to the Bay keeps the area awash in fog and sea breezes. Historically, the region was associated with Pinot Noir and especially Chardonnay plantings but many admire the backbone of the region’s Cabernet Sauvignons.
Because of its proximity to the San Pablo Bay, Coombsville experiences cooler temperatures compared to AVAs further north, allowing winemakers to harvest grapes later and at more developed phenolic ripeness. Therefore, many wines from Coombsville show generous soft tannins and notes of dark black fruits such as blackberry and blackcurrant while retaining moderate alcohol and refreshing acidity.
Shaped like a horseshoe, the combination of unique landforms and large elevation differences gives the Coombsville Viticultural Area a fog-protected partial basin with high surrounding ridges which create climatically unique features, including precipitation and heat summation.
Coombsville AVA is named after Nathan Coombs, one of the early settlers of Napa County who purchased the area as part of the original Rancho Tulocay from Juarez Cayetano in 1845. Nathan Coombs went on to found the City of Napa on this piece of land in 1847. However, the part of the land grant on the east side of the Napa River was left mostly rural and was focused on farming and livestock.
From the 1840's on, Coombsville’s agricultural orientation was initially focused on livestock and subsistence farming as opposed to vineyard development. It was only in the mid-20th century that the region began to attract attention from grape growers and vintners.
During prohibition, there was little to no wine produced in the area and prune orchards were the dominant form of agriculture. However, vintners began to appreciate the unique climate and geographic features in the mid to late 1960's. In the mid 1970's and continuing into the 1980's more wineries were founded in the area, establishing Coombsville as a unique wine growing region. In 2011, Coombsville was officially recognized as an American Viticultural Area.
"Coombsville has been called the ‘cup and saucer appellation’ due to the distinctive circular pattern of the surrounding hills, which geologists define as an ancient volcanic caldera. The volcanic soils and cooler temperatures from Coombsville’s proximity to the San Pablo Bay contribute to the minerality and precision of the tannins here. The wines have a freshness that is exciting."
- Annie Favia, Favia Wines
The Arietta Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 is a highlight of the Arietta portfolio in this vintage. For the first time in five years, we have blended the Clone 337 Cabernet Sauvignon from our superbly situated 1.77 acre block in Coombsville with small amounts of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
Classic Coombsville with blue and black fruit, violet aromatics, flavors of black licorice, exotic spice, pain grillé, voluptuous tannin and rich texture.
The Mink Vineyard is located next door to the winery, in an area known locally as Coombsville. Open to the same
morning fogs and afternoon breezes that cool Carneros to the west, Coombsville is consistently one of the coolest pockets
in Napa. Mink sits on a level bench just leeward of a knoll that slows down the prevailing maritime winds, allowing
cooler air to settle, and making Mink’s microclimate a couple degrees cooler, even, than the surrounding hills. But the real
secret to Mink’s explosive flavors, smooth, mouth-coating minerality, comes from the soil. Underneath the top few feet of
alluvial clays and cobblestones (typical throughout the southern reaches of Napa), is a layer of compressed volcanic ash,
called tufa. The tufa drains the top soils, storing moisture in rich clays underneath. The vines are able, with some work, to
grow roots into the tufa layer, accessing moisture during the long, dry growing season. In a typical year, Mink can be
Single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from Caldwell Vineyard in the Coombsville AVA.