Club Cabernet

April 2019


April 2019 Dear Cabernet Lover, The brilliant yellow mustard flowers in the vineyards and the stunning display of tulips in front of Nickel & Nickel are absolutely mesmerizing this time of year. Even though we make sure to stop and smell the flowers, admiring their enchanting beauty, our main focus now is on the vineyards. Bud break is on the horizon, with plenty of sunshine and intermittent rainy weather recharging the soils and keeping the cold weather at bay. We’re hoping for a warm summer and dry fall, which would put us in position for an ideal harvest. The 2016 vintage is marvelously balanced between fruit and weight. The fruit is still offering bright flavors, though now the wines are starting to display the complexity that accompanies bottle age. You can continue to age these gorgeous wines in the cellar or go ahead and uncork one now. Whatever you choose is the right answer! Cheers,

Dirk Hampson
Director of Winemaking Emeritus


April 2019 Dear Cabernet Lover, The brilliant yellow mustard flowers in the vineyards and the stunning display of tulips in front of Nickel & Nickel are absolutely mesmerizing this time of year. Even though we make sure to stop and smell the flowers, admiring their enchanting beauty, our main focus now is on the vineyards. Bud break is on the horizon, with plenty of sunshine and intermittent rainy weather recharging the soils and keeping the cold weather at bay. We’re hoping for a warm summer and dry fall, which would put us in position for an ideal harvest. The 2016 vintage is marvelously balanced between fruit and weight. The fruit is still offering bright flavors, though now the wines are starting to display the complexity that accompanies bottle age. You can continue to age these gorgeous wines in the cellar or go ahead and uncork one now. Whatever you choose is the right answer! Cheers,

Dirk Hampson
Director of Winemaking Emeritus


2016 Nickel & Nickel
Dragonfly Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

St. Helena, Napa Valley

Vineyard Description

The diminutive, four-acre Dragonfly Vineyard is located in St. Helena at the base of Spring Mountain. Old timers know this magical place as a “banana belt” microclimate, as its ideal summer temperatures allow the vines to develop their notable ripe and jammy fruit. The vines benefit from the site’s deep, gravelly loam soils and gentle southern exposure, and the vineyard is one of the first to be harvested each year.

 

Sensory Evaluation

Our 2016 Dragonfly Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is filled with gorgeous aromas of raspberry, cherry and Santa Rosa plum fused with elegant floral notes of violets that immediately dance out of the glass. The palate begins with abundant juicy fruit flavors that are well-layered and silky as hints of baking spices add further richness. Providing a full-mouth feel, this wine transitions to a finish with wonderful persistence.


Appellation

St. Helena, Napa Valley

Varietal

100% Cabernet Sauvignon

Aging

17 months in French oak barrels

  • 48% new
  • 52% once-used

Harvest Date

September 24, 2016

Director of Winemaking

Dirk Hampson


2016 Nickel & Nickel
Branding Iron Cabernet Sauvignon

Oakville, Napa Valley

Vineyard Description

Named for the branding iron owned by the proprietor, the eight-and-a-half acre Branding Iron Vineyard lies in western Oakville, close to the base of the Mayacamas Mountains. The vineyard is comprised of well-drained clay loam and the vines are vertically trellised to maximize sunlight and open the canopy. The area’s warm climate and sun exposure in both the morning and afternoon is perfect for slowly ripening the fruit, which often benefits from a long hang time.

 

Sensory Evaluation

With its bright red fruit and floral aromas complemented by a bouquet of clove, anise and cardamom, the 2016 Branding Iron Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon offers a beautiful balance of fresh fruit and spice. Upon entry, the wine is plush and elegant, offering hints of red berries and minerality, along with notes of warm toasted oak that add depth and length to the finish.


Appellation

Oakville, Napa Valley

Varietal

100% Cabernet Sauvignon

Aging

17 months in French oak barrels

  • 48% new
  • 52% once-used

Harvest Dates

October 5 – 12, 2016

Director of Winemaking

Dirk Hampson


2016 Bella Union
Cabernet Sauvignon

Napa Valley

Vineyard Description

Bella Union was founded by the partners of Far Niente to specialize in the art of blending Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.  The cornerstone of the blend is our 25-acre vineyard in Rutherford, along Bella Oaks Lane, a country road that was historically called Bella Union.  The vineyard is planted primarily to Cabernet Sauvignon in well-drained loam, and the vines range from 20 – 30 years of age.  Classic varietals of Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petite Verdot sourced from select Napa Valley vineyards complete the blend.

 

Sensory Evaluation

The 2016 Bella Union opens with inviting aromas of black cherry, dark plum, blueberry, and cassis with intimations of warm, toasty oak, vanilla, and baking spices.  Expansive, fruit-forward plum, black cherry and blueberry flavors coat the midpalate, followed by notes of toasted oak, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Supple tannins and bright acidity pave the way to a mouthwatering finish.


Appellation

Napa Valley

Varietal

89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Malbec, 2% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot, 1% Merlot

Aging

16 months in French oak barrels

  • 69% new
  • 31% once-used

Harvest Dates

September 13 – October 12, 2016

Director of Winemaking

Dirk Hampson

Additional Notes


2010 Far Niente
Cave Collection Cabernet Sauvignon

Napa Valley, Oakville

Vineyard Description

The 100-acre Martin Stelling Vineyard, located behind the winery in Oakville, is the cornerstone of the Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon program. Planted on some of the most beautiful, gravelly loam soil in the Napa Valley, the vineyard is composed of two distinct areas. The lower portion uniformly produces wines with supple, sweet tannins and bright, forward fruit. Halter Valley, which is the extension of the vineyard that starts into the foothills of the Mayacamas, is composed of gently rolling knolls. This section of the vineyard includes more diverse individual blocks that provide wines of great tannin and structure. This vineyard, together with a small contribution from the Sullenger Vineyard at Nickel & Nickel, produces Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon.

Sensory Evaluation

The 2010 Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon opens with boysenberry aromas combined with rich, toasted oak and a hint of espresso. The entry is layered and juicy with a velvety midpalate. Round, coating tannins and cherry fruit lead to a lingering and youthful finish.


Appellation

Napa Valley, Oakville

Varietal

97% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot

Aging

16 months in French oak barrels

  • 76% new
  • 24% once-used

Harvest Dates

October 18 – 27, 2010

Winemaker

Nicole Marchesi

Director of Winemaking

Dirk Hampson


2017 Far Niente
Estate Bottled Chardonnay

Napa Valley

Vineyard Description

Far Niente Chardonnay is a blend of superlative Napa Valley vineyards located in Coombsville, a cool growing region nestled in the rolling countryside and protected
by the hills east of the city of Napa. Coombsville offers the characteristic climate of Carneros, with less wind, along with deeper, well-drained gravelly loam and volcanic ash soils. The combination of these spectacular vineyards results in the subtle, tropical flavors, complex aromas and uncommon richness that have long been associated with Far Niente Chardonnay.

Sensory Evaluation

Aromas of melon, sweet citrus and white blossom floral layered with notes of flint, yeast and sweetly toasted oak. A smooth and focused entry is followed by a silky midpalate with ripe flavors of honeydew and lemon, supported by just of touch of wet stone, yeast and toasted hazelnuts. The finish is long and structured with citrus rind and mouthwatering acid.


Appellation

Napa Valley

Varietal

100% Chardonnay

Aging

10 months in French oak barrels

  • 54% new
  • 46% once-used

Harvest Dates

August 30 – September 20, 2017

Winemaker

Nicole Marchesi

Director of Winemaking

Dirk Hampson


2011 Nickel & Nickel
Kelham Cabernet Sauvignon

Oakville, Napa Valley

Vineyard Description

Kelham Vineyard is a 52-acre planting located at the base of the western hills of Oakville. Nickel & Nickel receives fruit from 7 acres planted to rootstocks which offer slightly different nuances to the blend. The soil is comprised of a well-drained, clay loam, which produces vines and clusters of moderate size. Some canopy management is performed to allow speckled light on the grapes which, combined with Oakville’s warm climate, is perfect for slowly ripening the fruit.

Sensory Evaluation

The 2011 Kelham Cabernet Sauvignon will be our last release from this vineyard so this wine will sell out quickly.  This wine has exotic aromas of earth, herb and tar that continue to evolve in the glass.  On the palate, this wine opens with wild berry fruits, herbs, tobacco, and pepper.  The French oak adds a nice toast and char component to the wine that complements the fruit, while the round tannins allow one to open this bottle earlier than is normal for this vineyard.


Appellation

Oakville, Napa Valley

Varietal

100% Cabernet Sauvignon

Aging

18 months in French oak barrels

  • 47% new
  • 53% once-used

Harvest Dates

October 21 – 24, 2011

Director of Winemaking

Dirk Hampson


2012 Nickel & Nickel
Copper Streak Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

Stags Leap District, Napa Valley

Vineyard Description

Copper Streak Vineyard is located in a protected hollow at the base of the palisades in Stags Leap District. The soils are composed of Perkins gravelly loam mixed with red, copper-like streaks, which is how the vineyard got its name. The vines receive a western exposure and are of moderate size, yielding loose clusters with small berries. The climate in Stags Leap is very warm; however, mid afternoon breezes sweep in to cool things down, allowing for excellent ripening. Nickel & Nickel Copper Streak Cabernet is produced from seven of the vineyard’s 30 acres.

Sensory Evaluation

This vineyard’s small berries offer a lot of intensity, and this wine is rich in flavor. The 2012 Copper Streak Cabernet Sauvignon offers a perfume of currant and cassis blended with an intriguing minerality. The palate explodes with cassis, chocolate, tobacco and herbs. The middle palate is thick and coating and the wine seems to expand as the velvety, yet firm, tannins carry the fruit flavors into a long and lingering finish. This wine will continue to evolve with a little patience in the bottle and can easily be cellared until 2025.


Appellation

Stags Leap District, Napa Valley

Varietal

100% Cabernet Sauvignon

Aging

18 months in French oak barrels

  • 51% new
  • 49% once-used

Harvest Dates

October 15, 2012

Director of Winemaking

Dirk Hampson


2016 Nickel & Nickel
Kenefick Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon

Calistoga, Napa Valley

Vineyard Description

Planted on well-drained, alluvial soils at the base of Calistoga’s Eastern hills, Kenefick Ranch produces vines of moderate vigor that yield loose clusters with small, concentrated berries. The loamy soil, western exposure and the warmer upper valley climate of this westward-facing vineyard helps us achieve optimal phenolic ripeness. The resulting wines consistently offer a mouthwatering combination of boysenberry and black cherry aromas with fresh fruit flavors that expand and coat the palate, along with density, layers of texture and a juicy finish.

Sensory Evaluation

The 2016 Kenefick Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon leads with luxurious dark fruit and spice aromas. Layer after layer of juicy black fruit and wild berry flavors unfold on the palate, accented by notes of warm spice. Big, rich tannins provide structure and will allow this powerful Cabernet to cellar beautifully for many years to come.


Appellation

Calistoga, Napa Valley

Varietal

100% Cabernet Sauvignon

Aging

17 months in French oak barrels

  • 48% new
  • 52% once-used

Harvest Dates

October 2 – 8, 2016

Director of Winemaking

Dirk Hampson


2016 Nickel & Nickel
Quarry Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

Rutherford, Napa Valley

Vineyard Description

The 25-acre Quarry Vineyard climbs the slopes above the Silverado Trail on the east side of Rutherford. The name comes from the old quarry that was the source of a white rock used in the ghost winery that still stands beside the vineyard. Three distinct hillside blocks, each experiencing its own unique soil and exposure, are harvested from this vineyard. The white, rocky loam soils are well drained, and the vines are of moderate vigor. Cluster and berry size varies from block to block, but all are small to moderate. This vineyard has full exposure to the afternoon sun.

Sensory Evaluation

A classic Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon with beautiful aromas of sage, cedar, black olive and forest floor, mixed with briary notes of blueberry and spicy black fruits. With ample intensity of fruit on entry, the 2016 Quarry possesses moderate tannins that are layered and elegant. Subtle herbaceous notes mixed with oak come through on the back half of the palate, reminiscent of delectable baking spices, such as vanilla, clove and brioche.  The resulting wine creates a lasting impression with its graceful finish.


Appellation

Rutherford, Napa Valley

Varietal

100% Cabernet Sauvignon

Aging

16 months in French oak barrels

  • 48% new
  • 52% once-used

Harvest Dates

September 27, 2016

Director of Winemaking

Dirk Hampson


2016 Nickel & Nickel
Quicksilver Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

Rutherford, Napa Valley

Vineyard Description

The Quicksilver Vineyard lies on the western Rutherford bench, in the acclaimed area on Bella Oaks Lane. The soils are predominantly well drained loams that produce vines of moderate size. These older vines were planted to the California sprawl system, with wider spacing and a divided canopy, giving great exposure to the fruit. Minimal irrigation is needed to obtain maximum fruit potential.

Sensory Evaluation

With its graceful aromatics accented by notes of fresh raspberry, Bing cherry and the slightest hint of Herbs de Provence, the 2016 Quicksilver Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is the epitome of elegance. Fresh red berry flavors fill the palate, and silky – almost delicate – tannins carry the wine into a beautiful finish.


Appellation

Rutherford, Napa Valley

Varietal

100% Cabernet Sauvignon

Aging

16 months in French oak barrels

  • 48% new
  • 52% once-used

Harvest Dates

October 2 – 8, 2016

Director of Winemaking

Dirk Hampson