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I recently had the opportunity to open up the beautifully aged 2000 Far Niente Cave Collection Cabernet Sauvignon. What a treat! The wine is a blend composed of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc. The growing season was moderate with a slightly later than average start date for harvest.
This wine still offers incredible aromas of dried red cherry with hints of sweet tobacco. It reminds me of a berry chutney that is both sweet and savory at the same time. On the palate, the wine is silky and full with nice juiciness. There are flavors of cherry and earth with an impression of sweetness on the soft melting finish. This wine is definitely aging gracefully!
For more about the 2000 vintage, see our previous post.
The Far Niente Wine Library, which contains every vintage the winery has produced.
4 2013on June
at 11:14 am
I recently had the amazing opportunity to visit the Tuscan wine region in Italy with fellow members of the Oakville Winegrowers Association. The purpose of this technical exchange trip was to learn more about grapegrowing and winemaking in Tuscany as well as to foster new collegial relationships. (It also served the purpose of adding a few inches to our waistlines!)
The group’s first stop on our Tuscany tour was the coastal region of Bolgheri. This wine region is relatively young and small for Europe; the majority of the major wineries here were only started in the 1980s and there are just 50-60 of them. And, unlike the rest of Tuscany where Sangiovese is the predominant red grape, Bolgheri wines are made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. We were overwhelmed by the hospitality from this relatively small band of Italian vintners. Not only did they open the doors to their modern facilities but they also provided us with in-depth tastings and discussions of their wines. I found the wines to be rich with black cherry and layers of minerality and supple on the palate with juicy acidity and fine-grained tannins. They paired nicely with our daily supply of cured meats, wild boar and fresh pasta!
A beautiful vineyard view at Tenuta Argentiera in Bolgheri.
After two impressive days in Bolgheri we travelled inland to the hilltop town of Montalcino, known for its Sangiovese-based Brunellos. In contrast to the young region of Bolgheri, Montalcino is steeped in tradition. There are strict rules that must be abided by both in the vineyard (crop yield is closely regulated) and in the winery (minimum barrel and bottle aging) in order for a wine to be called a Brunello. Here, too, we experienced generosity that included vineyard visits, in-depth winery tours, extensive tastings and bountiful food. The wines offered aromas of sweet cherry, tobacco and spice. Some of these wines had an almost oily texture with structure coming from a balance of acid and tannin that went well with fresh fava beans and roasted suckling pig.
Tasting Brunello at Col d'Orcia
In both Bolgheri and Montalcino, I was struck by the interest in equipment innovation, the willingness to share expertise and research and the dedication to making wines specific to their region. I’ve come away from this trip with a greater appreciation for the world of wine, new friends and the need for a slightly bigger belt!
Every now and then I need to pinch myself at work. It never ceases to amaze me that I get to work for an estate with an incredible history of producing quality wine. That now I have the opportunity to add to that history sometimes seems surreal.
Revisiting past vintages in our Cave Collection program is always a pleasure. I recently opened a bottle of the 1999 Far Niente Cave Collection Cabernet Sauvignon. Tasting a beautiful, 14-year-old wine from our vineyards in Oakville—the same vineyards that I get work with now—reminded me of how special and consistent this place really is.
The growing season in 1999 started out with a cool spring that developed into a moderate summer. Harvest was relatively late but the extra hang time allowed the grapes to fully ripen. This vintage of Far Niente is a blend of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc.
Aromatically, this wine is extremely expressive: it has a great bottle bouquet with dark cherry, sweet tobacco and an almost earthy minerality. It continues to open in the glass with more and more layers. Upon entry, the wine moves across the palate with a silky texture and juicy cherry and earth flavors. The structured acid and fine-grained tannins add length and elegance to the finish and entice you to have just one more sip.
If you’re lucky enough to have this vintage in your cellar, this is an excellent time to open it up! And if you need to replenish your cellar, we have released an allocation this year.
While a bottle of wine can be enjoyed in so many ways (I do love a glass of wine, a good book and some mellow music), my favorite way is to share it with friends. My husband and I recently opened a bottle of the 1998 Far Niente Cave Collection Cabernet Sauvignon with some friends at dinner and were rewarded with not only a beautiful bottle of wine but also with the thoughtful conversation about it.
We had fun looking back on the vintage and discussing what challenges that it presented to winemakers. 1998 remained cool through the first half of the year and then dramatically shifted to hot weather. What did this mean for winemaking? This meant stringent selection of clusters in the vineyard, careful sorting in the winery and blending only the best lots together. The result is a carefully crafted blend of Cabernet Sauvignon with 8% Cabernet Franc and 15% Merlot.
As the wine opened with our meal it offered aromas of dried blueberries, perfume, anise, nutmeg and light tobacco leaf. The silky-smooth entry developed into flavors of dried fruit with a long and lingering finish—a perfect complement to a delightful dinner with friends!
We have released an allocation of 1998 Far Niente Cave Collection Cabernet for your enjoyment. If you would like to replenish your cellar, you may do so online or call us at (707) 944-2861.
Like the beautiful flowers in full bloom outside, our production crew is in full “bloom” inside the winery. We are moving swiftly from one project to another, taking care of each wine in our cellar. Last week we finished bottling our 2011 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. Bottling is every winemaker’s least favorite task, but it is incredibly important and takes all hands on deck!
In the next few weeks, we will continue with our 2012 Napa Chardonnay, stirring and topping while at the same time preparing to bottle the 2010 Dolce. I’m also starting my next round of blending trials with the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon in anticipation of racking directly after the Dolce bottling.
And you thought winemakers had nothing to do after harvest!
A behind-the-scenes peek at Far Niente and the fine Cabernet and Chardonnay we produce here in Oakville.
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- Dolce Napa Valley (16)
- Far Niente Cabernet (42)
- Far Niente Cave Collection (16)
- Far Niente Chardonnay (34)
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