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Tag Archives: vineyard profiles



John C. Sullenger Vineyard: Characteristics of the Wine

on December 21, 2012

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.

Darice Spinelli

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

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John C. Sullenger Vineyard: A Closer Look

on December 14, 2012

You may be familiar with our home vineyard, the John C. Sullenger Vineyard, and we hope you’ve had the opportunity to enjoy our Cabernet Sauvignon from this Oakville vineyard. But you may not know what it is, exactly, about this vineyard that sets it apart from other vineyards in our collection.

By location alone, Sullenger is distinct from other Nickel & Nickel vineyards. “Sullenger is positioned in the center of the Napa Valley, whereas most other Nickel & Nickel vineyards are on the eastern or western sides of the valley,” says Viticulturist Aaron Fishleder. This site on the valley floor offers plenty of sunlight and uniform soils that promote consistent vine growth.

Sullenger is also the vineyard that has shown the biggest changes since we began farming it. When we purchased the property in 1998, the vines were big and leafy, shading the clusters. With careful pruning, canopy management, drainage and replanting over the years with the optimal combination of clones and rootstock, Sullenger has really come into its own and is producing fruit at a very high level.

Because of the vineyard’s location and soil type, we don’t irrigate this vineyard much, which promotes moderate vine growth, giving John C. Sullenger Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon that great, concentrated flavor we know so well.

Take a look at our recent harvest video, which compares Sullenger Vineyard with the hillside Quarry Vineyard in Rutherford.

Sullenger

The 2009 Nickel & Nickel John C. Sullenger Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is extremely limited this year and will sell out soon. Click here to acquire the last of this vintage.

And click here for the previous post about the John C. Sullenger Vineyard, which includes an aerial photograph of the vineyard site.

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Vineyard Profile: John C. Sullenger Vineyard

on December 6, 2012

If you’’ve visited Nickel & Nickel winery–and we hope you have–you’’ve seen the John C. Sullenger vineyard wrapping the southern and eastern sides of the winery property located in the heart of the Oakville AVA. The Napa River provides a natural border to the vineyard’’s eastern edge. Named for the man who settled on the property in the 1880s, the vineyard has 30 acres planted solely to Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Sullenger House at the turn of the century

The vineyard is located at the tip of a alluvial fan that extends from the Mayacamas Mountains on the eastern side of Napa Valley. The soils are a mixture of fluvial deposits and clay loam from the Bale loam series. Expertly farmed by our Vinescape vineyard management crew, Sullenger produces healthy vines, and as each harvest approaches, Winemaker Darice Spinelli has the convenience of walking right out the door to sample fruit and bring it back to the lab for analysis.

An aerial view of John C. Sullenger Vineyard, looking northwest, up the valley

Next week, we talk with Viticulturist Aaron Fishleder for his take on what makes Sullenger Vineyard unique.

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Coming Soon: Single-Vineyard Profiles

on November 30, 2012

Like us, you’re passionate about single-vineyard wines. Well, we’re excited to announce that in December we will be kicking off a series of Nickel & Nickel vineyard profiles, going “in depth” behind your favorite wines–and maybe wines you haven’t enjoyed yet. We’ll dedicate each month to a vineyard, with several posts focusing on different aspects: geography, viticulture and characteristics of the wine produced. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to taste some of the wines resting in your cellar–or maybe you’ll branch out and try something new!

First up, our home vineyard: John C. Sullenger Vineyard, which surrounds the Nickel & Nickel winery, pictured below.

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