Nickel & Nickel, in Oakville, was founded in 1997 by the partners who also own the Far Niente and Dolce wineries. The founding principle behind Nickel & Nickel is to make only 100% varietal, single-vineyard wines. As a result the winery creates single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons from six sub appellations including Oakville, St. Helena, Howell Mountain, Rutherford, Stags Leap and Yountville. The producer also makes single-vineyard Chardonnay, Merlot, Syrah and Zinfandel from vineyards in Napa Valley and Sonoma. Winemaker Darice Spinelli joined the winery in 1998. Nickel & Nickel’s headquarters is located on a 19th century farmstead where the original 1884 farmhouse serves as the company’s offices.
Howell Mountain AVA in Northeastern Napa Valley was the first of Napa Valley’s sub-appellations, earning its own designation in 1984, just a year after Napa Valley became an appellation. As the name suggests, the AVA is in one of the highest elevations in the area. Every vineyard in the appellation is at least 1,400 feet above sea level. Some vineyards are as high as 2,200 feet and because of their altitude most of the AVA’s vineyards receive more sun than vineyards at lower elevations, which are affected by fog from the Pacific Ocean and the San Pablo Bay. Howell Mountain was home to vineyards in the late 19th century, but winemaker Randy Dunn is considered the area’s most influential modern pioneer. Dunn moved to Howell Mountain in 1979, acquired property and began making exceptionally rich Cabernet Sauvignon. The AVA also grows Zinfandel, Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. There are 600 vineyard acres within Howell Mountain AVA.
One of the most widely grown grape varieties, it can be found in nearly every wine growing region. A cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. It’s a hardy vine that produces a full-bodied wine with high tannins and great aging potential.