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.
Stags Leap District AVA in southern Napa Valley has a storied history. It is home to Stag’s Leap Cellars, whose 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon won the famous Judgment of Paris blind tasting that included several of Bordeaux’s most exalted First Growths. Vineyards were started in area in the late 19th century, but the district’s rise in prestige started in the late 1960s when Nathan Fay planted Cabernet Sauvignon. Fay later sold his estate to Warren Winiarski, founder of Stag’s Leap Cellars. The district was given its own AVA designation in 1989, and today there are 1,400 vineyard acres. The AVA is especially notable because it was the first in the U.S. to be granted AVA status based on terroir. Its distinctive soils is a mix of volcanic soils, river sediment and loamy clay-like soil. Because the soils don’t retain water well, vineyards in Stag’s Leap tend to grow fruit with great intensity and flavor. Cabernet Sauvignon accounts for 95% of the grapes planted in Stags Leap.
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.