Nickel & Nickel Harris Vineyard Merlot 2010
Merlot from Napa Valley, California
Harris Vineyard is located in western Oakville, just east of the Branding Iron Vineyard. Nickel & Nickel's five acres are comprised of two blocks that offer a southern exposure and soil of gravelly clay loam. Thinning passes allow each cluster to hang freely, optimizing the trellis system, and taking advantage of the warm climate to reach full maturity.
The Harris Merlot is very consistent from vintage to vintage, and this wine is no exception. Beautiful berry and plum fruit integrate with flavors of sage, cigar, earth and dried herb. This vintage has an appealing dusty element and the oak adds a hint of char. The silky texture and round tannins carry these flavors through to a long, balanced finish.
Wine Enthusiast - "This is a great Merlot that's intensely concenrated and dazzlingly rich-everything you want a Merlot to be. It's power packed with black cherries, cherry liqueur, cocoa and sweet oak, with firm, hard tannins. That is, of course, the Nickel & Nickel style. It shows classic Oakville structure and hard-to-define elegance, making it one of the best merlots of the vintage."
Wine & Spirits - "A crush of blackberries fill this luscious merlot, all about richness amd sweet oak. Give it time and the substantial structure begins to absorb some of the sweetness. It's a serious merlot for the cellar."
Wine Spectator - "Tightly focused and well-balanced, with appealing red currant and tomato leaf aromas that lead to trim flavors of cherry, cedar and herb. Tannins kick in on the finish."
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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 Valley
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 grated 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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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.