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.
Rutherford AVA is just north of the Oakville AVA in the heart of Napa Valley, and it is equally distinguished. It is home to Beaulieu Vineyard and inglenook, arguably Napa Valley’s most historically influential wineries. Inglenook started making in wine in the late 19th century, and Beaulieu Vineyards was producing by the first years of the 20th century. BV founder Georges de Latour is particularly esteemed for having recruited Andre Tchelistcheff, a renowned research oenologist, to move from France to Napa Valley in 1938 and run BV’s winemaking. The legendary Tchelistcheff brought European winemaking techniques to Napa Valley and vastly improved wine quality. Other Rutherford winemakers followed his lead. Today there are 5,000 vineyard acres in Rutherford and many acclaimed producers. The famous Silverado Trail with its exclusive, limited production wineries, runs partly through Rutherford AVA. Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignons are characterized by supple tannins, richness, notes of cherry and plum, depth and the ability to age for several decades. Besides Cabernet Sauvignon the AVA also grows Chardonnay, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel. It received its AVA designation in 1994.
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.