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Tag Archives: Napa Merlot

Harvest Update: Our 2015 Single Vineyard Wines

on October 5, 2015

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!


Vineyard Profile: Nickel & Nickel Harris Merlot – The Vineyard Site

on July 15, 2013

We won’t be surprised if you reach for Nickel & Nickel Harris Merlot this summer! In fact, take a look at our recipe page for some ideas for dishes to pair.

In our previous post about Harris Vineyard Merlot, we highlighted some of the characteristics that make this Merlot a favorite for many. Today we’re taking a closer look at the vineyard itself and what makes it perfectly suited for this Merlot.

Harris Merlot

The vineyard is located in Oakville, just east of our Branding Iron Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard. This vineyard is planted on a large alluvial fan that extends from the Mayacamas Mountains, across the Branding Iron Vineyard, into Harris Vineyard, and reaches all the way to the western edge of the Rock Cairn Vineyard. The vineyard’s Bale soil series are developed on alluvial fans and flood plains, while the Clear Lake soil series are found on old alluvial fans derived from sedimentary rock. Both soil series can be found in this vineyard, giving it a gravelly clay loam.

The good soil drainage and southern sun exposure position the vineyard to produce a beautiful, complex Merlot. Stay tuned for tasting impressions from Winemaker Darice Spinelli.


Vineyard Profile: Nickel & Nickel Harris Vineyard Merlot

on June 5, 2013

Harris Vineyard Merlot has been in our portfolio of wines since 2000. Located in Oakville, the heart of Napa Valley Cabernet country, this vineyard produces consistent fruit year after year, and the resulting, full-bodied wine is very popular among fans of Nickel & Nickel.

We source fruit from just 5 acres of this 50-acre vineyard, located to the west of Highway 29, behind Mustards Grill. Stay tuned for insights from our viticulturist and winemaker on what make Harris Merlot a special Napa Valley wine.

If you have the wine in your cellar and are looking for a dish to pair it with, why not try out Chef Trevor Eliason’s recipe for herb roasted chicken breast? And if you need to replenish your cellar with Nickel & Nickel Harris Vineyard Merlot, click here.

Harris Vineyard Merlot


A Springtime Recipe to Enjoy with Nickel & Nickel Harris Vineyard Merlot

on April 17, 2013

With spring in the air we thought we would put together a fun, seasonal recipe that goes great with the 2010 Nickel & Nickel Harris Merlot. This dish really highlights the bright fruits and luxurious structure of the wine. In the kitchen, we tested this dish several times. Not because we needed to work out any recipe flaws, but because we thought it was so delicious.

2010 Nickel & Nickel Harris Merlot

Herb Roasted Organic Chicken Breast

Caramelized Root Vegetables, Dried Cherry and Tarragon Pearl Couscous

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.



2 quarts cold water

¼ cup salt

cup sugar

3 thyme sprigs

1 garlic clove, shelled

1 bay leaf

10 peppercorns

10 coriander seeds


2 organic chicken breasts, bone-in

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt, to taste

White pepper, to taste


Pearl Couscous Salad:

2 tablespoon olive oil

1 shallot, diced small

1 cup couscous

2 ½ cup chicken stock

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup dried tart cherries, cut in half

1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped

½ tablespoon Banyuls vinegar or sherry vinegar


 Black Trumpet Mushrooms:

1 cup black trumpet mushrooms, washed and dried

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste


Caramelized Root Vegetables:

2 tablespoon olive oil

1 large turnip, diced into ½-inch cubes

1 large parsnip, diced into ½-inch cubes

1 large sweet potato, diced into ½-inch cubes

1 large carrot, diced into ½-inch cubes

1 tablespoon butter

Salt and pepper, to taste



To make the brine, add a quart of water to a medium-sized pot. Add ¼ cup salt, cup sugar, thyme, garlic, bay leaf, peppercorns and coriander seeds to the pot. Bring to a simmer, then shut off the heat and pour the brine into a container with a tight-fitting lid. Add the remaining quart of cold water to the brine and allow to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, add the raw chicken and place in the refrigerator overnight.

Remove the chicken from the brine and place on a paper towel-lined plate to dry. Discard the brine. Put a cast iron pan on medium heat and season chicken with salt and white pepper. Add olive oil to the pan, then add the chicken breasts skin side down. Sear for 3-5 minutes or until golden. Flip chicken over and place in a 350˚F oven for 15 minutes. Baste chicken, using a spoon to capture the juices and reapply to top of chicken. Repeat a couple of times. Bake for 5 more minutes, or until the juices run clear from the chicken. Let rest for 5 more minutes, then slice the meat off the bone and cut each breast into three equal slices from there.

While chicken is cooking, start making the couscous.  In a medium sauce pot, add olive oil then shallots and sweat for 30 seconds. Add couscous and stir for another 30 seconds. Add 2 ½ cups chicken stock and ¼ teaspoon salt. Stir and simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the couscous is tender. Allow to cool.

Sauté mushrooms in a large pan with olive oil, salt and pepper for about 4-5 minutes. Set aside.

In a large sauté pan, add olive oil, and then add the diced root vegetables. Sauté on medium-high heat, stir and until caramelized, about 4 minutes. Then add 1 tablespoon of butter and set on low heat. Cook for another minute, or until tender.

To assemble, combine cooked couscous, chopped tarragon, halved dried cherries, Banyuls vinegar, black trumpet mushrooms and salt and pepper, to taste, in a medium bowl.

Place a heaping scoop of couscous salad in a strip on each warmed plate. Spoon roasted vegetables parallel to the couscous, then top with sliced chicken. Pop open a bottle of the Nickel & Nickel Harris Merlot and enjoy!

Serves 2

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.