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.
Salt Creek Grille, in Rumson, NJ, hosted a wine dinner featuring Duckhorn Vineyards on the 12th of April, 2012.
When it was founded, 30 years ago, Duckhorn, based in Napa, California, initially focused on Bordeaux varietals, with specific attention on Merlot. Today, the winery produces a wide range of reds, whites, and blends, with grapes sourced not only from Napa, but from neighboring Sonoma Valley as well.
Wine dinners are always interesting events. Each restaurant has their own thoughts on how it should be done, and no two are alike. Many places pour wine freely, while others limit you to an ounce or two (boo). Some establishments change their format from time to time (which can be so annoying when you like their previous format and set your expectations!). The social aspect is also always up for grabs. If you are not with a group, you never know who will be seated near/next to you. I have sat next to novices, who were much more knowledgeable than I. I have sat with novices, who were self-proclaimed experts (but were obviously not). I have sat with experts, who were very willing to educate those around them. I have sat with connoisseurs, who did not care to share their thoughts (but they usually do by the end of the evening!). Essentially, it is a wild card, but the event (read: the wine) is always interesting.
Overall, Salt Creek Grille did a good job with the evening.
Castello di Ama is based in the Tuscany region of Italy.
They are best known for some of their reds, such as Chianti Classico, but also produce rose and white wines.
I discovered this bottle in 2011 at a wine tasting at Undici restaurant.
Al Poggio is 75% Chardonnay and 25% Pinot Grigio.
While I typically do not care for Chardonnay, I found this blend rather tasty.
Joe Bastianich’s vineyards have produced this white blend from the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of Italy.
The wine is 45% Chardonnay, 45% Sauvignon Blanc, and 10% Picolit. It spends 50% of its aging in oak and 50% in stainless steel.
For me, Vespa Bianco is a bit too Chardonnay-ish.