The combination of the Calistoga region’s climate, soils and topography has driven winemakers to plant primarily red grape varieties, which can be found in 90% of the vineyards. The five principal grape varieties and the percentage on Calistoga vines are as follows:
Cabernet Sauvignon – 56%
Cabs from Calistoga are widely acclaimed and sought after by collectors as well as casual wine drinkers. Calistoga Cabernet Sauvignon is opulent with riper fruit character, good structure and higher tannins, allowing them to age and evolve for years. Calistoga offers many choices for great Cabs as every winery offers at least one bottling of the legendary varietal.
Zinfandel – 20%
Another robust red, Zinfandel has a sizeable following, as consumers enjoy the bright, jammy, fruit-forward flavors. Zin lovers also appreciate that there are two sides to the grape – there’s the popular big and brawny expression, but winemakers also craft the wine in a leaner, more elegant style.
Petite Sirah – 7%
Neither petite, nor Syrah, the hearty red wine offers rich flavors, powerful tannins and sweet plum and blackberry flavors. Often described as inky and chewy, Petite Sirah flourishes in the Calistoga AVA.
Charbono – 5%
There are about 76 acres of the Charbono vines planted in California and 45 are in the Calistoga AVA. Obviously, the red grape thrives in the region’s volcanic soil producing wines with medium acid, robust tannins and fairly low alcohol levels of about 13%. Known as a “spaghetti-red,” the age-worthy wine pairs perfectly with Italian cuisine.
Syrah – 2%
Although not widely planted in Calistoga vineyards, Syrah thrives in the region’s warm climate and volcanic soils. Calistoga Syrah is rich, intense and fruity with smooth tannins, resulting in an ideal food and wine pairing.