2008 Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon

Year: 2008
Appellation: Oakville, Napa Valley
Country: USA - California
Wine Advocate: 89
Wine Enthusiast: 95
Red Wine
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"Composed of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot and 4% Cabernet Franc, this dense ruby/purple-colored 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon possesses a slightly muted, restrained set of aromatics (cedar and black currants), but the wine kicks in on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with an elegant style, it is an attractive, stylish Cabernet Sauvignon that appears to be slightly over-priced." (WA)

"Oakville $120. Shows the elegance and pedigree that this estate vineyard, in the heart of the Oakville bench, always shows. The tannins are sweet and ripe, and the wine brims with luscious blackberry, cassis and mocha flavors, accented with new oak that's flashy, yet perfectly in keeping with the wine's volume. Should slowly mature over the years." (WE)

Winery Notes:
The 100-acre Martin Stelling Vineyard, located behind the winery in Oakville, is the cornerstone of the Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon program. Planted on some of the most beautiful, gravelly loam soil in the Napa Valley, the vineyard is composed of two distinct areas. The lower portion uniformly produces wines with supple, sweet tannins and bright, forward fruit. Halter Valley, which is the extension of the vineyard that starts into the foothills of the Mayacamas, is composed of gently rolling knolls. This section of the vineyard includes more diverse individual blocks that provide wines of great tannin and structure. This vineyard, together with a small contribution from the Sullenger Vineyard at Nickel & Nickel, produces Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon.

The 2008 season started out with low winter rainfall, followed by a very dry and cold spring. Napa Valley’s worst frost in 30 years resulted in reduced yields and delayed ripening in the coldest pockets of our vineyards. However, our precision farming enabled us to identify and isolate these sections. Summer and early fall brought a few heat spikes, but it was a relatively mild ripening season for Cabernet; its development was slow and steady, ensuring ideally evolved flavors and tannins. A cool and fairly dry October allowed us to pick each block slowly, sometimes with multiple passes, to harvest at optimum ripeness. The frost- affected sections were picked separately and declassified; only wines of optimal ripeness and beautifully textured tannins were included in our blend.

We were able to achieve the concentrated flavors of juicy, black and purple fruit along with the lush, velvety tannins of this vintage through a combination of early pressing and extended maceration. Fifty percent of the lots stayed on their skins for up to 63 days, allowing for slow and gentle tannin extraction while the other half was pressed early to capture the bright fruit flavors.

This wine offers intense aromas of ripe blackberry and boysenberry layered with baking spices and licorice. The entry is full and juicy with a velvety middle palate. Dark, mocha flavors emerge on the long finish with chewy, coating tannins.