We are continuing our feature on our State Ranch Vineyard. For our first post, click here.
The thing that stands out about this vineyard for Viticulturist Aaron Fishleder is the excellent, natural drainage—particularly on the east side of State Lane. Situated on an old riverbed, the rocky loam soil in this vineyard promotes year-around drainage, which fosters moderate vine growth and beautiful concentration in the resulting wine.
Nickel & Nickel receives fruit from 11 acres of this 23-acre vineyard. Though located in the Yountville AVA, the State Ranch vineyard is just down the road from Stags Leap District. We will talk with Winemaker Darice Spinelli next week about characteristics of State Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon.
The star marks the approximate location of the State Ranch vineyard in the northeast corner of the Yountville AVA.
We’re counting the days to our first event of the year, our annual Winter Open House on February 2. If you will be in Napa Valley and would like to join us for a party with an incredible selection of single-vineyard wines give us a call at (707) 967-9600 or email Noelle at email@example.com. Cost is $75 per person, and the event is complimentary to wine club members and their guest, for a party of two. We’d love to see you! For more information, click here.
If you aren’t able to join us, you can still enjoy the open house from afar by tuning into our Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Instagram pages. (And on Twitter and Instagram, we’ll be using #NNOpenHouse. If you’re new to hashtags, check out this overview. ) We’d love to connect and share the day with you!
And for those of you attending the event, feel free to share your day with us by tagging us in your photos, posting to our Facebook page or just Tweeting your favorite wine of the day. You’re also invited to use #NNOpenHouse on Twitter and Instagram.
Sights Around the Winery (winery photos except where noted)
Each spring brings bright splashes of color to the Nickel & Nickel landscape.
A tremendous swath of flowers ran the length of the property along Highway 29 all summer long. Travelers frequently stopped to capture the view on their cameras. Landscape Designer Daniel Townsend wrote about the special mix of flowers here. (photo by Robb McDonough)
Our first video with Chef Trevor Eliason featured a recipe and wine pairing. Take a look at the video here!
Nickel & Nickel Cabernet Day (winery photos)
What a pleasure it is to celebrate our newest vintage with our friends and wine club members! This year, we released 13 single-vineyard Cabernets.
Wishing you a very happy New Year! See you in 2013.
With 2012 coming to a quick conclusion, we sat down with Winemaker Darice Spinelli for a year-end wrap-up. As you will see, harvest 2012 is still a vivid memory.
What stands out for you about 2012?
Definitely the abundance of this vintage—that was phenomenal. We were up 31% from what I was expecting, and we were up by 73% over last year’s yields. And the quality appears to be exceptional.
Were there any changes or enhancements brought to the winemaking process this year?
For the last two harvests, we have used the optical sorter. This machine allows us to identify color as a tool to remove anything that is undesirable. In our case, we were removing things that were green and brown (stems, leaves, shot berries) and keeping anything purple. We had a team hand sorting, too, but the optical sorter almost doubled our ability to process the grapes. Our ability to work faster is exactly what we needed given the tonnage from the 2012 harvest . That’s how we were able to keep our quality high.
View our optical sorter in action in this recent harvest video.
What characteristics are you seeing in the 2012 wines?
The wines are very well balanced. They’re still going through fermentation and still changing at this point, but they have really nice structure, great fruit flavors, incredible color and nice aromas, so it’s looking like it will be a great year. The vineyard characteristics are really showing through.
Is there anything else that stands out for you about 2012? Anything you’re looking forward to in 2013?
I’ve been thinking about harvest for the last few months, but earlier in the year we bottled our 2010 Cabernets. [Mark your calendars for the official release on August 10, 2013.] Again, these are good, solid wines. We just tasted through our spring releases—also really balanced wines. These Chardonnays, Merlots and Syrahs taste wonderful at this early age, so it will be exciting to show everybody these wines in 2013. We also have a new Chardonnay coming out next year from Stiling Vineyard that we bottled this last year. It has a beautiful minerality that can’t be beat.
Our annual Futures event is something we always look forward to. This year we’ll taste the 2012 Cabernets, and you’ll have the opportunity to purchase these wines at current release prices. It’s a fun, popular event and I guarantee that you will enjoy this vintage.
Wishing you and yours a very happy New Year! See you in 2013.
We’ve given insight to the unique aspects of this vineyard, those which contribute to the single-vineyard Cabernet that only this vineyard can produce. (For the previous posts see here and here.) Today, Winemaker Darice Spinelli describes the characteristics which define the John C. Sullenger Cabernet Sauvignon.
For me, Sullenger is about the beautiful fruit and coating palate feel. The wine has a rich texture, beautiful Oakville tannins and a lot of complexity. There is opulent fruit with earthy notes and a coating middle palate that leads into a long finish. Truly, it’s the complexity and layering that are the Sullenger signature.
What lends to those characteristics? It’s the vineyard. I cannot create Dragonfly Vineyard Cabernet here. So that’s true terroir. It’s the sun, the climate, the soil, the rootstock, the vine—the combination of all these things creates the overall character of this wine. The flavors themselves are the expression of this vineyard.
To enjoy the last of the 2009 Sullenger Cabernet, click here.