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Nickel & Nickel Sullenger Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 1998

Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
  • W&S89
0% ABV
  • WW94
  • WS91
  • W&S90
  • WW96
  • JS94
  • RP94
  • W&S94
  • RP91
  • TP91
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Winemaker Notes

This historic vineyard is located in Oakville, directly north of Opus One, and east of the Robert Mondavi Winery and the famous To-Kalon vineyard. The property is named after Napa Valley pioneer John Crawford Sullenger, who, in 1865, purchased this property and adjoining parcels, amounting to a total of 150 acres. Sullenger later sold a portion of his land to Inglenook proprietor Gustav Niebaum, and to Hamden McIntyre, an architect who designed the buildings that later became home to Far Niente Winery. The region is very cool with dense fog early in the season and windy conditions all year long. The vines are planted on a gentle, rolling knoll of deep, loamy soils and are cordon trained to give maximum light exposure to the fruit while the berries are very small, yielding low tonnage. Due to the cooler conditions, the vines mature slowly which allows time for great tannin maturity. This Merlot is often harvested with or after Napa Valley Cabernets and this extra "hang time" offers a velvety texture to the wine beyond compare. Harmonious and plush, the 1998 Sullenger Cabernet Sauvignon is a beautiful expression of this vineyard, opening with delicately perfumed aromas and evolving into dusty, earthy tones. The entry is warm and smooth, with forward fruit flavors of plum and cherry filling the palate. Layers of coffee and light herb intermixed with sweet, toasty oak add great breadth, while elegant tannins complete the package. 707 cases produced.

Critical Acclaim

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W&S 89
Wine & Spirits
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Nickel & Nickel

Nickel & Nickel

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Nickel & Nickel, , California
Nickel & Nickel
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.

Beaujolais

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The bucolic region often identified as the southern part of Burgundy, Beaujolais actually doesn’t have a whole lot in common with the rest of the region in terms of climate, soil types and grape varieties. Beaujolais achieves its own identity with variations on style of one grape, Gamay.

Gamay was actually grown throughout all of Burgundy until 1395 when the Duke of Burgundy banished it south, making room for Pinot noir to inhabit all of the “superior” hillsides of Burgundy proper. This was good news for Gamay as it produces a much better wine in the granitic soils of Beaujolais, compared with the limestone escarpments of the Côte d’Or.

Four styles of Beaujolais exist though most is sold under the basic Beaujolais appellation. The simplest, and one that has regrettably given the region a subpar reputation, is Beaujolais Nouveau. This is the wine that is made using carbonic maceration (a quick fermentation that results in sweet aromas) and is released on the third Thursday of November in the same year as harvest. It's meant to drink young and is flirty, fruity and fun. The rest of Beaujolais is where the serious wines are found. Beaujolais-Villages, which must come from the hilly northern part of the region, offer reasonable values with some gems among them. The superior section are the cru vineyards coming from ten distinct communes: St-Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Regnié, Brouilly, and Côte de Brouilly. Any cru Beajolais will have its commune name prominent on the label.

Delightfully playful yet at its best capable of impressive gravitas, Gamay is responsible for juicy, berry-flavored wines in Beaujolais and parts of the Loire Valley. It has received some criticism for its role in Beaujolais Nouveau, a young beverage more reminiscent of fruit punch than wine. But make no mistake—the Gamay grape is very capable of producing light yet serious wines, especially in the cru villages of Beaujolais. The variety is also widely planted in Savoie and Switzerland, and has recently found success on a small but growing scale in Oregon.

In the Glass

Gamay can be decidedly light and fruity with flavors cherry candy and cranberry. Made for Beaujolais Nouveau, with a quick fermentation process, the wines give fun and flirty aromas of banana or bubblegum. The Nouveau style is to drink early and not contemplate. More complex Gamays (Village or cru level) offer dark blackberry or ripe cherry flavors with enticing aromas of baking spice, violets and dark wet earth as well as aging potential.

Perfect Pairings

Gamay is delicious on its own, especially with a light chill. It is the quintessential picnic red and goes well with simple charcuterie, country pate, and terrines. Served at a cool temperature, it is an unexpected but outstanding partner for freshly shucked oysters. Gentle tannins and bright acidity make it a great option with Asian food, even dishes with a bit of a spicy kick. Gamay can also be a great pairing with poultry, especially duck or Thanksgiving turkey with cranberry sauce.

Sommelier Secret

Within Beaujolais, there are ten different crus, or highly ranked grape-growing communes. Each one has its own distinct personality—Fleurie is delicate and floral, Côte de Brouilly is concentrated and elegant, and Morgon is serious, structured, and age-worthy, capable of rivaling some red Burgundies.

PIM93769_1998 Item# 46096

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