In a recent post I did a quick review of Nickel & Nickel’s John C. Sullenger Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2007. I noted the Napa Cab was “Very well made, complex, silky tannins with syrupy dark fruits on the palate followed by long, dry finish.” While the 2007 Sullenger is no longer available, we had the opportunity to sample a more recent vintage in March 2018 at an all-Nickel & Nickel tasting at a great wine shop, Lower Falls Wine in Newton, Mass. The shop sold each bottle for $85 that day; a steep discount off the usual $120+ list price.
A 2015 Horizontal Tasting: All Nickel & Nickel Cabs
Lower Falls Wine poured eight 2015 releases of Nickel & Nickel’s single-vineyard Cabs in a fascinating horizontal tasting. All Cabernet Sauvignon. All 2015. All Napa Valley. But 4 different Napa appellations: St. Helena, Rutherford, Oakville, and Yountville. Even slight variations in soil, climate, and exposure to the elements can have an impact on grapes grown, harvested, and bottled within a few miles of each other. And we did find differences among the Nickel & Nickel Cabs.
What Was Memorable/What We Bought
Hayne Vineyard, St. Helena
Tons of oak on the nose and palate, followed by concentrated blackberry and plum notes. Great start, but tannins were too “grippy” and needs a lot of time to smooth out.
Quarry Vineyard, Rutherford
A little too bold, fruit-forward, and fruit bomb-y for me.
Quicksilver Vineyard, Rutherford
Light- to medium-bodied wine with pronounced red fruit…a bit dusty and notable tannins. Good mouthfeel but not sure of its long-term promise.
Rock Cairn Vineyard, Oakville
Did not taste
Branding Iron Vineyard, Oakville
Sweet fruit notes on palate with dense body; finishing with dry, tannin-laden aftertaste. Pleasant but not worth the $.
John C. Sullenger Vineyard, Oakville
Tannins were so overpowering I would need to cellar for 10 years before opening. Maybe I’m too old or impatient, but I want wine to be available on my schedule.
State Ranch, Yountville BOUGHT
This won VinoDuo’s best in show. Medium- to full-bodied with notable tannins make this Cab both chewy and delicious. Hint of sweetness, but not sweet; Notes of blueberry and clove, and a long finish. So nice, we tasted twice!
C. C. Ranch, Rutherford BOUGHT
Black berry fruits with notes of cedar, tobacco, and allspice. Full-bodied wine, like drinking liquid velvet, with a terrific long finish. Look up “Napa Cab” in your Funk & Wagnalls [if you’re younger than 55, ask your parents] and you’ll find C.C. Ranch 2015 there.