Nickel & Nickel Branding Iron Cabernet Sauvignon 2002
Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
Branding Iron – or at least "iron" – seems a proper term for this backward, earthy, tightly furled cabernet. This wine sees more skin contact than its cousins do – 29 days as opposed to 19 days for the Sullenger, 18 for Stelling, 14 for Dragonfly and 13 for Vogt – and it's chiefly in the skin where tannin resides. (It also receives a smidgeon more oak.) Ergo, this is one mother of a tannic wine, yet to be a tad more gentle about the issue, the tannins are supple, polished, finely-milled. And in a sense, their permeation, along with spicy oak, is so complete that there's no difference between them and the plum and black cherry fruit the wine embodies and its plush, velvety texture; the medium is the message. Still, briars and brambles come up on the finish, and the wine concludes with a tide of astringency.
Wine Enthusiast - "Here's a bright, ripe and juicy Cabernet that impresses for its wealth of flavor and refined structure. It's bold in black currants, cassis and chocolate, with a rich layering of oak, yet maintains balance and elegance."
Nickel & Nickel Winery
Nickel & Nickel is devoted exclusively to producing 100% varietal, single-vineyard wines that best express the distinctive personality of each vineyard. Established in 1997 by the partners of Far Niente, the winery is based in Oakville, California, on the 42-acre John C. Sullenger vineyard property. Nickel & Nickel produces single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, but also makes single-vineyard Chardonnay, Merlot, Syrah and Zinfandel. View all Nickel & Nickel Wines
About Napa ValleyView a map of Napa Valley wineries
It's hard not to think of Napa Valley when thinking of California wines. The region is, after all, the one that brought world recognition to California wine making. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux Blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Notable FactsWithin the Napa Valley lie smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two is St.-Helena and finally, just granted an AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap and Mount Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
About CaliforniaIt's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
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