Porthos | The Wine Insiders
Nickel & Nickel
nickel_nickel_logo.jpg Established in 1997 by the partners of Far Niente, Nickel & Nickel is based on a philosophy of producing 100 percent varietal, single-vineyard wines that best express the distinct personality of each vineyard. It is from some of the most coveted vineyards in the Napa and Sonoma valleys that the Nickel & Nickel wines are produced.

"We’re not just seeking out any vineyards. Every aspect of each vineyard must be top-notch, including the soil and the climate, but we also want to know the site is proven ground. We look at who the neighbors are, who is the vineyard manager, and will that grower be willing to do whatever it takes to make the best of the vineyard," says Winemaker Darice Spinelli.

In turn, no one wine in the Nickel & Nickel portfolio stands alone. The entire collection of vineyards, and the single-vineyard wines they produce, make up the whole of the winery. Instead of producing soloists, Nickel & Nickel has assembled a symphony of some of the world’s rarest and most highly expressive single-vineyard wines.

"Our hope is that, through tasting our wines, people will gain an understanding of the distinctive and varied terroirs of the valley," says Dirk Hampson, director of winemaking and president of Nickel & Nickel. "True terroir only comes with a relationship over time with the land. We have to understand the subtleties of its personality, and take a journey over several vintages to learn how to get the best from the vineyard."

Nickel & Nickel currently produces single-vineyard Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Zinfandel. Long-range plans call for the production of as many as twenty-five 100 percent varietal, single-vineyard wines.

Producing single-vineyard, single-varietal wines presents a real winemaking challenge, since, by definition, the winemaker cannot blend to enhance the final wine. But, as Hampson points out, it is the challenge that keeps things interesting. "We’re in a stage of discovery. The vineyards will slowly reveal themselves, but one discovery always brings a whole new set of questions."