Alcohol: 14.3 %
Suggested retail: $ 70.
Some say that the Napa Valley is becoming a viticultural monoculture devoted to Cabernet Sauvignon. This week’s wine is evidence that Napa is about more than just Cab. Though it makes some very nice Cabernet Sauvignon, Far Niente owes its reputation to Chardonnay, The winery sat in a Prohibition-induced dormancy until Gil Nickel bought it and began rehabilitating the property in 1969.
The Oakville winery sits at the foot of the Mayacamas mountains just west of Highway 29. It’s beautifully restored and the planned—but not developed by 1919—caves dug by Nickel have added to the personality, as well as the functionality, of the winery. You can’t mistake far Niente for anybody else’s wine, given its ornate and distinctive label.
Far Niente’s 2019 vintage Chardonnay continues in a style long-recognized as one the Napa Valley’s premier examples of that variety. Though the winery itself is on the west side of the Napa Valley, grapes from Coombsville on the Valley’s eastern side are the fruit source for Far Niente Estate Bottled Chardonnay,
We found white peaches, melon and honeysuckle In the nose. Following those aromas came flavors of citrus, lemon curd and maybe a little tangerine. It finishes with a bit of creaminess and an overall richness. There is power in this wine, yet an almost delicate complexity.
Expensive, but definitely top quality (and with a bit of shopping, you can find it available at less than the winery’s suggested retail of $70).
Suggested pairing: No doubt this wine would enhance food as humble as a grilled cheese sandwich, but something a little more special might be indicated here. Our first thoughts include veal accompanied by morels, a rich and creamy preparation of Dungeness crab, or the simplicity of broiled lobster with drawn butter.