Benchmark Wines By
Far Niente

Tasting Notes


In the wine's youth, the aroma of new oak dominates, with that smoky, minty, spicy-char note. But in the mouth the fruit explodes in intensely ripe black currants and milk chocolate. The tannins are rich and softly complex. A complete Cabernet that is luscious now, but has the balance to develop, if you can keep your hands off it.


This blend of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc (14% alcohol) offers reserved aromatics as well as an opaque purple color. In the mouth it explodes with notes of creme de cassis, licorice, and subtle hints of oak and cedar. A classic, full-bodied, mid-valley Cabernet Sauvignon, it is richer, fuller and deeper than its shy aromatics suggest. It may only need more time in the cellar, but it is an impressive 2003 that should age for another two decades. Rating: 93+

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Far Niente brand image

The Winery

Far Niente

Located in the esteemed Napa Valley, Far Niente was established in 1885 by John Benson who made the trek to California in 1849 during the California Gold Rush. Although he was forced to close and abandon the Oakville winery from 1920-1933 due to Prohibition, in 1979 Gil Nickel purchased the winery and vineyards and transformed them. It wasn’t until builders discovered a stone with the words ‘far niente’ inscribed in it that the winery changed its name. The words are part of an Italian expression, il dolce far niente, which translates to ‘sweetness of doing nothing’ or ‘without a care.’ The winery only makes two wines, one made from Cabernet Sauvignon and another made from Chardonnay, which they have been producing since the first vintage in 1979. Far Niente sources most of their fruit from different vineyards throughout the Oakville and Coombsville appellations, and works closely with its sister wineries Nickel & Nickel, Enroute and Bella Union Winery.

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