Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon
|Region||California, United States|
|Grape||Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc|
|Brand||Far Niente Winery|
The 100-acre Martin Stelling Vineyard, located behind the winery in Oakville, is the cornerstone of Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon. Planted on some of the most beautiful, gravelly loam soil in the Napa Valley, the vineyard uniformly produces wines with supple tannins, bright, forward fruit, and beautiful tannin structure.
The 2012 season returned to near perfect weather after several cool and challenging growing seasons. March brought heavy spring rains, sustaining the vines through the season. Temperatures were ideal for bud break, flowering and fruit set, and the summer months brought seasonably warm days and cool nights without extreme weather events. These conditions allowed the vines to establish a large, but balanced crop, which steadily ripened until the Cabernet harvest began in early October. Mother Nature held back on her fall rains, enabling us to slowly and steadily bring in each block at optimal
ripeness before the end of the month.
The 2012 Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon opens with aromas of mixed berry fruit, boysenberry, chocolate covered cherries, layered with hints of graphite and toasted oak. On the palate, a smooth entry is followed by intense, ripe berry notes. This wine is focused and silky through the midpalate, building to a finish with broad tannins and notes of cedar and toasted oak.
Far Niente was founded in 1885 by John Benson, a forty-niner of the California gold rush and uncle of the famous American impressionist painter, Winslow Homer. Benson hired architect Hamden McIntyre, creator of the former Christian Brothers winery—now the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone—to design the building. Constructed against a hillside in western Oakville, Far Niente functioned as a gravity flow winery, gently moving the grapes through each stage of production.
Far Niente prospered until the onset of Prohibition in 1919, when it was abandoned and left to fall into disrepair. Sixty years later, in 1979, Gil Nickel purchased the winery and adjacent vineyard and began a three-year restoration of the property, which resulted in placement on the National Register of Historical Places. During restoration, the original name, Far Niente, from an Italian phrase that romantically translated means “without a care,” was found carved in stone on the front of the building where it remains to this day. We felt an obligation to preserve the name with the hope that we could recapture a bygone era when life was indeed without a care.
Nineteen eighty-two marked the return of winemaking to Far Niente, with the harvest of the winery’s first Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay was also produced at the winery for the first time that year; the 1979, ’80 and ’81 vintage wines were made at an offsite location. Today, the winery continues to focus on producing only the two varietal wines.