Nickel & Nickel is located in Oakville in the Napa Valley section of California. The winery’s focus is the production of single-varietal, single-vineyard wines. Their current vintage offerings include wines sourced from both Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley. The majority of the Napa Valley offerings are Cabernet Sauvignon, while their wines from Sonoma include a Chardonnay, a Syrah, and two Zinfandels.
The 2006 Nickel & Nickel Bonfire Vineyard Zinfandel was 100% Zinfandel. The wine was aged in French oak barrels (35% new, 65% once-used) for 14 months. The label listed ABV was 15%. The fruit for this vintage was sourced from Bonfire Vineyard, located in Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma.
I had tasted several Nickel & Nickel wines over the years. Most recently, I revisited the brand to great success with their 2008 Kelham Cabernet Sauvignon. It had been some time since I sampled their Bonfire Vineyard Zinfandel, but I recalled liking the wine. When I came across it in a local store, I decided to pick up a bottle.
This turned out to be a good decision.
The town of Healdsburg, in Sonoma County, California, is home to J Vineyards & Winery. The winery was founded by Judy Jordan in 1986. While they initially focused on the production of sparkling wines, they eventually branched out into using varietals agreeable to Russian River Valley, namely, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris.
The 2009 J Vineyards & Winery Pinot Noir Russian River Valley was 100% Pinot Noir. The wine was aged in French oak barrels (30% new, 70% old) for 14 months, and spent an additional 9 months in the bottle, prior to release. The label listed ABV was 14.4%. There were 12,000 cases of this vintage produced.
I was in a local beverage store, looking for a specific Russian River Valley Pinot Noir I had previously tasted. It was nowhere to be found. I glanced down and noticed the J Vineyards Pinot Noir. Hmmm…this would be a great wine to compare against the one I couldn’t find.
And with that, I made my first purchase of a J Vineyards wine.
Duckhorn Vineyards is based in the town of Saint Helena in the Napa Valley region of California. In addition to wines produced under their flagship Duckhorn label, their portfolio also includes wines produced under their Paraduxx, Goldeneye, Migration, and Decoy labels.
The 2010 Duckhorn Vineyards Decoy Pinot Noir Sonoma County was 100% Pinot Noir. It was aged in French oak barrels (90% second vintage, 10% new) for 6 months. The wine was produced with grapes from 10 different vineyards. The label listed ABV was 14.5%.
In April of this year, I had the good fortune to attend a wine tasting dinner for Duckhorn Vineyards at Salt Creek Grille in Rumson, NJ. The wine selection that evening was interesting, but it did not include anything from the Decoy lineup. I came across the 2010 Decoy Pinot Noir in a local beverage store.
I’ve come to like many Duckhorn wines. I was hoping to add the Decoy Pinot Noir to the list.
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.