The 2/7/10 San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Magazine carries an ad by Chateau Montelena that their 7 year quest to create yet another appellation within Napa surrounding their property has finally borne fruit. As of 1/7/10, Napa gets its 15th appellation: Calistoga. The region includes the hillside north of the Montelena property down to the Bale crossroad between Highway 29 and the Silverado Trail.

Can any of you name the other 14 Napa appellations? I certainly cannot recite them all. Thanks to a Google search here they are: Atlas Peak, Carneros, Chiles Valley, Diamond Mountain, Howell Mountain, Mount Veeder, Oak Knoll, Oakville, Rutherford, Spring Mountain, St. Helena, Stag’s Leap, Wild Horse Valley, Yountville, and now, Calistoga.

Sonoma has 13 appellations within it. Of the 165 wine appellations within the U.S., almost two-thirds, 93 are located in California.

Named appellations have become trademarks by which wineries can distinguish themselves from the ever enlarging crowd. I have always found it easier to buy wine, especially order wine in restaurants by a few rules of thumb concerning certain appellations that are consistently good or provide value for the mooney spent. My own personal list is about 5 in California. Who can remember 93?

Congratulations to Ch. Montelena, and good luck to you all making sense of all these subregions in our increasingly glamorous wine country.

Moris Senegor