The Stelling Vineyard is located behind Far Niente at the base of the western hills in Oakville. Although the vineyard comprises 100 acres, Nickel & Nickel produced its Stelling Cabernet Sauvignon from just a 1.4-acre parcel for the 1997, ‘98 and ‘99 vintages, with the remainder contributing to the Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon. The vineyard was originally part of the 5000-acre holdings of Martin Stelling, from which many famous hillside and benchland vineyards have been demarcated.
The spring of 1999 arrived later than normal and flowering occurred during cool weather, reducing crop production. Cluster size, as well as berry size, was smaller than usual in this vineyard, giving even more fruit concentration to an already spectacular site. A mild summer was followed by a warm, relatively dry fall, which allowed the grapes to further develop and mature their tannins before being picked in October.
1999 might have given us the best Stelling Vineyard Cabernet yet. Packed with blackberry, spice, vanilla and chocolate, the wine has a rich, almost coating, middle palate. Classically elegant, with beautiful structure and complexity, the wine's silky tannins marry with the oak, creating layers of interest that continue into a very long finish.