State Ranch Vineyard, Yountville, Napa Valley
Nickel & Nickel Harvest 2015 in Seven Words or Less: Early, High-Speed, Small Yields, Intense Flavors.
On September 3rd, we picked our first Napa Valley blocks of Truchard Chardonnay and C.C. Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon. In addition to making this one of the earliest harvests on record for us, Mother Nature decided this would also be one of the rare years when we brought both Chardonnay and Cabernet into the winery on the same day. We pick our fruit when the vineyard demands it!
As we send this, all but two of our Single Vineyard Cabernets are already off the vine, along with some very tasty Syrah from our Darien Vineyard. We never get much fruit from this Russian River Valley site, but we love this vineyard and the wine it produces so much. Darice says it’s already showing the wild berries and seductive notes of earth and spice that make this red such a favorite. Our Chardonnay and Merlot vineyards have also been picked, and we’re excited to announce that we’ll be welcoming a new Russian River Valley Chardonnay to the portfolio (but more on that later!).
This week, we’ll bring in fruit from our final two Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards: Rock Cairn in Napa Valley’s exciting Oakville AVA, plus one of our favorite Howell Mountain sites, Beatty Ranch. It’s been one of the earliest – and quickest – vintages on record.
Although it’s too early to give a thorough profile of the vintage, we can say that yields are small, the wines are developing gorgeous color in the tank, and we’re very pleased with the intense flavors we’re seeing so far.
Want to know more about the single vineyard wines that comprise the Nickel & Nickel portfolio? Check out the current lineup here!
2015 John C. Sullenger Vineyard Cabernet, coming down the line!
Winemaker Darice Spinelli hasn’t seen a vintage like 2013 since she began her Napa Valley winemaking career in 1988. With the 2013 Nickel & Nickel Single-Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons now in bottle, Darice offers us a snapshot of what she calls the most unique vintage we’ve ever had.
“The clarity of our Cabernets is incredible, but they are dark as ink. Even within the flavor profile, the wine expresses deeper, darker berry notes. The fruit is beautiful and fresh, with a gorgeous chocolate-covered berry essence.
In many ways, 2013 was a mystery. The growing season was excellent, but we’ve had other, equally excellent years. Yet, none have produced wines with such textural richness or as dark a fruit profile as this vintage.”
Since our 2013 Futures Tasting in May, tannins have rounded out, and the complexity of flavors has deepened. Over the next year, tannins and texture will continue to soften and refine in the bottle. When we release these Cabernets to you next year, they will have entered a beautiful drinking phase that should continue for the next 20 years.
Darice says that if she could duplicate the 2013 vintage, she would, but therein lies one of the many beauties of growing and making wine: Each year, each season, gives us something totally new.
Questions about our Nickel & Nickel Cabernet Futures Program? Call us at (707) 967-9600 or email (tsetzer@nickelandnickel com). You can also click here to learn more.
A brief moment of pause for Chef Trevor Eliason,
during this year’s Nickel & Nickel Cabernet Day.
After cooking up mouthwatering menus for our Nickel & Nickel Cabernet release events for almost a decade, Chef Trevor Eliason has come to know the crowd favorites. For us, each event is a chance to showcase exciting new dishes to pair with our single vineyard wines. Over the years, however, our members and guests have come to have a few clear favorites. Chef Trevor clued us in to our Members’ Top Three, and suggested his favorite Nickel & Nickel Cabernet Sauvignons to open and enjoy with each.
For Nickel & Nickel Winemaker Darice Spinelli, Chardonnay is her hot weather go-to, “although with Chardonnay, I often find I’ve enjoyed my wine before a plate of food hits the table.”
On summer Friday nights, Darice loves to invite friends to join her around the fire pit for wine and super-simple small plates. “Anything too long or complicated isn’t going to happen.” Time is a precious commodity for Darice. Her days in the vineyard often start before sunrise (and end after office hours). She’s also Mom to two energetic boys, which means that arriving home, getting dinner on the table for the kids, then prepping an elaborate meal for her guests, well, “there simply aren’t enough hours in a day. Especially because I actually want to be present and enjoy the company of my family and my friends.”
To ensure she spends more time fireside than she does in the kitchen, Chef Trevor Eliason offers his suggestions for easy 30-minute (or less) appetizers that pair beautifully with Nickel & Nickel’s Single Vineyard Chardonnays from the Russian River and Napa Valleys.
Easy 30-Minute Appetizers
Burrata and Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta + Nickel & Nickel Stiling Vineyard Chardonnay. Whether you daydream about classic Brandywines, geek out over tangy Northern Lights or prize the hearty Cherokee purple as the perfect slicing tomato, tomato season is hitting its stride, making it the ideal time to indulge your heirloom obsessions. We love to toss just-picked varieties with olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper. We let the flavors marry for half an hour before spooning fragrant, “sweating” heaps of them over creamy burrata on toasted baguette. Top with fresh basil.
Prosciutto-wrapped Marinated Galia Melon + Nickel & Nickel Medina Vineyard Chardonnay. Exactly what should you use as a marinade? There are a variety of options, however, Chef Trevor favors simplicity, with nice olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. “Just a hint of fennel pollen really elevates it, but isn’t required,” he says.
Smoked Salmon Rillettes + Nickel & Nickel Truchard Vineyard Chardonnay. Technically, this takes longer than 30 minutes, but the fragrant smoky-fish and butter flavors of really good salmon rillettes are the ultimate Friday night showstopper, especially when paired alongside whites on the creamier, more textured side. The good news, one of our favorite versions, here, can be prepared up to three days in advance.
Drink some wine. Talk with friends. Throw some fresh summer corn on the grill, which, BTW, always tastes great with all three of our Nickel & Nickel Chardonnays. Discover more recipes that pair beautifully with our Single-Vineyard Whites, and make this your #BestChardonnay summer ever.
Is Napa Valley in your future? We hope you’ll add Nickel & Nickel to your itinerary. Here’s what you need to know about your visit:
With all the wonderful weather we’ve been enjoying, the high season seems to have already begun this year. We highly recommend early planning for all your Napa Valley destinations, from lodging to winery visits and dining.
Like many wineries, Nickel & Nickel is by appointment only, and we recommend booking your appointment as soon as your plans solidify. As the season gets underway, we often schedule visits 6 weeks out and holiday weekends fill quickly.
Schedule Your Visit
So you’ve got some dates in mind? Check out our visit page for information on tours and tastings at Nickel & Nickel. From there, you can book your appointment online at the “Make a Reservation” link, or give us a call at (707) 967-9600 and we’ll set you up!
(Special note: Wine club members’ tasting fees are waived, up to a party of four.)
Get Ready to Enjoy a Single-Vineyard Experience!
On your Nickel & Nickel visit, you’ll learn about our dedication to single-vineyard wines and how that touches everything we do, from our hospitality in the Sullenger House to the enology lab in the 18th-century Gleason Barn to the fermentation barns. Next, you’ll taste through a selection of our Napa Valley single-vineyard Cabernets—a true tour of Napa Valley geography and geology!
We look forward to greeting you soon at the winery. Another way to connect with us is through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.