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Harvest 2021 Wrap Up: A Napa and Russian River Valley Vintage for the Record Books


Harvest 2021 Wrap Up: A Napa and Russian River Valley Vintage for the Record Books

As we rush headlong into the holiday season, our winemakers can’t stop talking about … harvest 2021! While the season wrapped several weeks ago -- even Dolce had picked their final late harvest blocks by November 3 -- it seems the quality of our Napa Valley and Russian River Valley fruit left a powerful impression on our entire Far Niente Family of Wineries & Vineyards winemaking team.

Here’s what they had to say:

“Tiny berries, super concentrated, big color and tannin. Just wow.” – Nicole Marchesi, Far Niente Winemaker

“All time quality, this will be one for the ages.” – Joe Harden, Nickel & Nickel Winemaker

“Extraction, color and aromatics unlike anything I’ve ever seen. The best harvest I have ever seen!” – Michael Accurso, EnRoute and Post & Beam Winemaker

“Outstanding quality, fantastic flavor concentration, optimum conditions.” – Brooke Price, Bella Union Winemaker

“Fresh-air, early, opportunity, delicious, abundance, relief, exuberance.” – Greg Allen, Dolce Winemaker

“Quality through concentration, power, intensity and balance.” – John McCarthy, Far Niente Family of Wineries & Vineyards Director of Vineyard Operations

Nickel & Nickel Cabernet Harvest

Of course, our Director of Winemaking Andrew Delos had some more robust commentary regarding the growing season. Check out his full update below.

“The story of vintage 2021 begins with the impact of the prolonged drought. Yields were smaller across all of our Napa and Russian River Valley vineyards, and quality was amazingly high. The winemaking team all feel that color, concentration, aroma, and flavor are as good as any of us can remember. The small berries are allowing us to make wines of depth, complexity, and nuance. I expect this vintage to be one of the best vintages on record for both the Russian River and Napa Valleys. Across the board, our vineyards are in a great place, and they are responding with some of the best fruit that we have ever seen. I expect them to continue to reward us with outstanding quality in the coming years.

We finished harvesting all of our Far Niente Chardonnay and EnRoute Pinot Noir by the last week of September. With no major weather events, our winemakers were able to pick each vineyard and block when they determined the grapes were at peak ripeness.

Beatty Ranch, along with a few blocks of Airshow Vineyard and Element 28, were the last Nickel & Nickel Cabernets to come into the winery. Nickel & Nickel harvest wrapped up by October 25, which was a bit earlier than normal for Nickel & Nickel. But, the small berries and drought conditions allowed our Cabernet vines to mature at a slightly quicker pace. Every one of our single-vineyard Cabernets are smelling and tasting great. At least half a dozen times, Joe and I have looked at each other and almost simultaneously said, “this is the best we’ve ever tasted from [insert vineyard]!” I believe Nickel & Nickel is poised to have some of its best wines to date.

Far Niente picked Cabernet Sauvignon every day for two straight weeks, and everything was in the winery by October 20. We employed several new farming methods this growing season, and our Martin Stelling Vineyard responded exceedingly well to all of them. We expect the Cabernet from this legendary vineyard to shine this year. The fruit is intense, concentrated and just beautiful.

Bella Union wrapped their final harvest on October 21. Our new Napa Valley vineyard sources are anticipated to continue to round out and add depth to the Bella Union Napa Valley Cabernet. Not to sound like a broken record, but after tasting the fruit in our fermentation tanks, we believe we may have one of the best vintages of Bella Union to date.

Dolce was able to harvest half of its fruit in mid-October, before a bout of late October rains swept through the vineyard and accelerated the rate of Botrytis. We harvested the final half of the vineyard blocks on Saturday, October 30th, and Wednesday, November 3rd. According to Dolce Winemaker Greg Allen, if all eleven fermentation batches of Dolce cooperate then we could produce the fourth largest Dolce vintage over the past fifteen years. This is exciting news!"

All in all, harvest 2021 has turned out to be a vintage to remember. And, with his 11 fermentation batches of Dolce all showing signs of cooperating, even Greg might be able to press pause and enjoy the holidays ahead.

Want to dress your own holiday table with some other outstanding Far Niente, Nickel & Nickel, EnRoute, Bella Union or Dolce vintages? You can’t go wrong with the new and library wines currently available in our online wine shop.

This year's Holiday Wine Gift Guide is not to be missed either. It's brimming with one-of-a-kind collections, etched wine gifts and rare large formats you won't find anywhere else.

Sending wines or gifts to multiple addresses? Talk with our gift gurus and enjoy white glove concierge service throughout the whole process.

Cheers to a very merry holiday season!

Far Niente Holiday Wines

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