A couple of weeks ago Mark and I stopped by Far Niente Winery. Far Niente (Italian for 'do nothing') is quite an experience. It's a beautiful properly, tucked away on a quiet lane just a stone's throw away from Opus One, with lands bordering the venerable Screaming Eagle Estates.
After finally finding the place and being buzzed in at the gate, we took an extensive tour of the property. We toured their underground cellars, which now encompass around 40,000 square feet. The highlight here was the 'Wine Library' - a beautifully sculptured subterranean octagonal room housing a few bottles of each vintage the winery's ever produced. Fantastic acoustics and truly impressive masonry.
Gil Nickel, who purchased Far Niente in 1979 was quite the car fanatic and the winery has a showroom dedicated to his collection. We all cooed over the 1951 Ferrari 340 America - the only one ever built. And then finally tasted their wines.
We tasted their '04 and '05 Chard's, their '99 and '04 Cab, and finished with the '03 Dolce. I have a soft spot for sweet wines, and found this one stunning.
Their wines, which certainly aren't cheap, impressed us in how big and fruity they were. With 2 to 3 years of aging in 100% new French Oak barrels, they needed to be.
We just set up a section on the forum for you to submit your trip reports or other wine stories. I'm looking forward to reading them.
The do nothing winery
- Blog comment by JB, Jul 12, 2007.
We went to Far Niente a few years back. Though the winery is gorgeous, the car collection is gorgeous, everything about the place is gorgeous...they charge an arm and a leg and make the tasting very formal (as opposed to Newton, which was free, also stunning, also by appointment and intimate, but much more casual in feel).
The ceremony of the presentation seemed to take precedence over the wine itself, and while the wine is good, it's hard not to get the sense that the high prices of the Far Niente and Nickel and Nickel wines have as much to do with covering vast overhead of the entire complex as they do with the amount of work that goes into making the wine. Overall, the QPR for the tasting experience as well as for a bottle of the FN wine isn't the best to be had.