Napa Valley, a 45-minute drive north of San Francisco (traffic permitting), was already famous for Cabernet Sauvignon back in the early 1900s, when wineries such as the original Inglenook, Beaulieu Vineyard and Chateau Montelena made the Valley's reputation. Thanks to its warm, dry climate and the care that's lavished on this noble grape by some of the world's best-funded wineries, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is still America's most prized (and priciest) wine.
MAPPING NAPA CABERNET Napa contains different districts renowned for Cabernet (Rutherford, Oakville, Howell Mountain, etc.) that are recognized with sub-appellation names.
NOTABLE VINTAGES 1978 was not only the year Food & Wine debuted, but also a great vintage in Napa. More recently, 1995, 1997 and 2001 were all top vintages.