Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their June 2019 panel tasting of Premium Californian Chardonnay (see blue link below).
Far Niente Chardonnay 2017 - June 2019 Decanter review
See also the techical note from the producer (click blue link below).
Far Niente Chardonnay 2017 - fiche technique
Far Niente, one of the earliest stone wineries, derives its name from the Italian phrase "Dolce Far Niente" (how sweet it is to do nothing). It was founded in 1885 and flourished until prohibition. Abandoned for over 60 years, the winery was purchased in 1979 by Gil Nickel. He started the long process of restoring it. Far Niente's quest to produce outstanding wines of distinctive character has led them to a philosophy that requires vineyard ownership. Today, they own 200 acres (3 different vineyard sites) of what many regard as some of the finest vineyard land in the Napa Valley.
2017 began with a wonderfully cold and much needed wet winter. Spring followed with mild weather for budbreak and some April showers, resulting in average vine growth. Early May brought the first of several intense heat waves, with additional hot spells in mid-June and mid-July. Finally, an especially intense heat event at the beginning of September started the Chardonnay harvest. Cooler weather followed allowing later ripening parcels to be harvested during September.
Far Niente Chardonnay is a blend of superlative Napa Valley vineyards, many of which are located in a little-known area called Coombsville, a cool growing region nestled in the rolling countryside and protected by the hills east of the city of Napa. Coombsville offers the characteristic climate of Carneros, with less wind, along with deeper, well-drained gravelly loam and volcanic ash soils. The combination of these spectacular vineyards results in the subtle, tropical flavours, complex aromas and uncommon richness that we have long associated with Far Niente Chardonnay.
The hand-harvested grapes were brought to the winery in small bins and sorted by hand to assure the finest quality. Fermentation began in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and 95% was racked into French oak barrels to complete fermentation in the caves and old stone cellars. The wine did not go through malolactic fermentation and was aged for 10 months on its fine lees for additional depth, complexity and texture. The maturation took place in French oak barrels (54% new, 46% used once).
This wine is 100% Chardonnay.
Delicate aromas of melon, sweet citrus and white floral notes are layered with nuances of flint, yeast and sweetly toasted oak. A smooth, focused and silky palate delivers ripe flavours of honeydew and lemon, supported by just of touch of wet stone, yeast and toasted hazelnuts. The finish is deliciously mouthwatering and long. Ideal with pan fried scallops or Lobster Thermidor.