Oakville, California in the Napa Valley region of the state is home to Far Niente Winery. The estate was founded in 1885, but fell into disrepair with the onset of Prohibition. In 1979, Gil Nickel began a three-year restoration of the historic site. Today, Far Niente produces a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Chardonnay.
The 2009 Far Niente Estate Bottled Chardonnay was 100% Chardonnay. The wine was aged in French oak barrels (61% new, 39% once-used) for 10 months. This wine did not undergo malolactic fermentation. The label listed ABV was 14.3%.
I came across this bottle in a local wine store. The owners of Far Niente founded the Nickel & Nickel winery in 1997. Given my recent success tasting the 2006 Nickel & Nickel Bonfire Vineyard Zinfandel and the 2008 Nickel & Nickel Kelham Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, I thought I would give this Chardonnay a try.
I am generally not a fan of Chardonnay. I was hoping this bottle would be different.
Prior to tasting, the wine was chilled.
Citrus was the first note I detected on the nose, lemon, more specifically. There was also pear and apple.
I would describe the palate as complex. There was a lot going on with this wine and I could not pin down every flavor. Peach and pear were notable. Cinnamon and spice were present as well (I wasn’t expecting that in a Chardonnay, not bad, just unexpected.). There was modest acidity and the oak was fairly mild as well. This was a well-balanced wine.
The finish was medium-long, accompanied by stone fruit.
Once again, this was a very well-made wine, but it was not my style (I really need to stop trying to like varietals I just don’t like!). The 2009 Far Niente Estate Bottled Chardonnay retails in the $45 area. If you like Chardonnay, you might want to try it. I, for one, will be moving onto another varietal (it’s not you, it’s me, Chardonnay.).