Monday, October 31, 2005

Far Niente

Far Niente

The Far Niente winery and vineyard was founded late in the 19th century in Oakville, Napa Valley. John Benson a forty-niner of the California gold rush had the winery constructed by famous architect Hamden McIntyre in 1885. The winery was built on a hillside and functioned prosperously as a gravity flow winery until 1919.

The Italian named winery was shut down during the prohibition years and did not reemerge as a winery for some 60 years after. Far Niente translates in English to mean ‘without a care’ and with the spirit of Bensons winery in mind it retained the name.

In 1979 Gil Nikel brought the winery and vineyard and began its restoration. After finding the name Far Niente craved into a stone in the winery he decided to try and recapture the essence of the idea first introduced all those years ago by Benson. And so the Far Niente winery was reborn.

The new Far Niente winery produced its first on site Cabernet Sauvignon vintage in 1982. Since then the Californian winery has concentrated on its two variant wines Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.

Far Niente’s dedication to every harvest and the passion with which the wine makers combine their skills with the natural elements of the vineyard create the elegant style and full flavor that is the Far Niente Cabernet. The cabernet is produced exclusively from the vineyard grapes of the Oakville winery. Far Niente Cabernets are rich and complex soft in texture and long. The wine omits a spicy oak aroma with the typical Far Niente blackberry undercurrent. Far Niente wines are known for the consistent house taste and age enhancing flavors.

Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon 2002

This year’s growing conditions were generally mild with a few moderate shifts in whether to distill the tastes of this vintage. These growing conditions instilled the vintage with a free flowing fruity expression. Melding the flavors of black cherry, huckle berry and plum with the finishing tastes of tabacco and oak and a deepening flavor of black fruit and black berry. A slight spice and liquorice taste combine in this wine to give it unique texture and taste. The texture of this vintage flows softly onto the palette with a long velvet finish.

Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon 2001

This year’s conditions were moderate with a few spikes from one extreme to the next. A heavy frost was off set by a rise in temperature mid year then a cooler period that forced an early harvest. The result was a ripe, deep wine with a long finish. The aroma of huckle berry is complemented by chocolate and dark cocoa with a hint of vanilla. The flavor is a rich combination of boysenberry and black fruits. This strong thick flavor leaves a lingering but soft consistency.

Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon 2000

A reasonably mild year with a few heat spikes being the major whether influences in a moderate summer. This years flavor is lighter and soft with a raspberry perfume off set by sedentary oak and cassis. This vintage is supple and delicate and will deepen further with age.

Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon 1999

This year’s growing conditions produced a concentrated full flavored wine. The conditions were moderate with a cool spring beginning the growing process and a mild summer contributing to a late harvest. The harvest was smaller than usual but the extra time allowed the grapes to ripen nicely. This multi-layered vintage is particularly deep with the aromas of black berry and cassis that are renowned with Far Niente wines. The texture is dense and the ripeness of the vintage blends exquisitely with the natural French oak flavor and feel.

Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon 1998

The 1998 season saw a quick transition from spring to summer meaning the grapes did not have as much time to ripen. This weather however balanced out and the harvest took place within the normal time frame. The subtle blackberry and cassis flavors are married with traditional oak and cedar aromas. The vintage has a soft ripeness with a firm velvet core that will be further refined with age.

Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon 1997

The 1997 vintage was rewarded with a warm summer heat that complemented the cabernet nicely. The 97 bottle contains a subtle black fruit flavor and a warm oak aroma. This silky, lavish wine is soft and long and will age very well.

Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon 1996

Uneventful year weather wise saw the production of a classic Far Niente vintage. This elegant Californian vintage combines a subtle blackberry flavor with a dusty oak and cedar aroma to create a wine that engages the palate. An unusual silkiness and grace define this year and with age this wine will deepen into a more velvety texture.

Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon 1995

A very late harvest in 1995 produced a full flavored ripe grape that added an intensity and texture to this years vintage. Traditional Far Niente black fruit flavors and French oak aroma define this years vintage. The vintage has a soft but powerful sensation to it and a strong thick texture.

Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon 1994

This year produced one of the latest harvests seen at Far Niente. Grapes were able to ripen over the extended period and were full and ready before harsh winter storms ravaged the vineyard. This year’s vintage was filled with the tastes of cassis and blackberry and the powerful dusty aromas of oak and cedar that come from the fine rich Oakville soil. Intensity and flavor are the defining features of this vintage.

Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon 1993

The 7th and final year of the Napa valley drought saw the mild sprinkling of rain combining with a moderate spring and increasingly warm summer. This produced a grape that was ripened to full maturity adding extra depth and intensity to the flavor and texture. The perfume of oak and cedar and the taste of cassis and black berry are the distinguishing feature of this vintage. The added depth and powerful texture also combine to make this wine a Far Niente specialty.

Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon 1992

This year's growing conditions began with dry dusty conditions that were fortunately off set by a spring rainfall that replenished the harvest. The grapes were allowed to grow to full maturity. Blackberry and cassis flavors and strong cedar and oak aromas combined