When I first got word of Britt Nichols’ debut vintage of Napa Valley Cabernet in the winter of 2014, I almost didn’t have to taste the wine. Her resume spoke volumes about what her wine should be….a trained enologist with stints at Chappellet, Jordan, Peter Michael and Philippe Melka, showed she learned from the finest.
She turned out to be an excellent student and in my opinion (judging by the reorders, by many of you too), she is a rising star in Napa Valley Cabernet.
Winemaker Britt Nichols says the key to sourcing the best grapes in 2017 was to choose the earlier ripening sites. She chose 2 sources in ’17, the first, a vineyard on the eastern ridge of Napa at the base of Atlas Peak and the second, a valley floor site, in the northwestern corner of the appellation. Both vineyards are rocky, the one at the base of Atlas Peak, like the landscape of the moon. Although each are early ripening, these rocky soils hold no water and vines struggle for sure. Not a great setting to make a lot of wine but perfect for creating tiny berries of intense concentration. This is the source of the wow-factor in Nichols Cabernet; the fruit is intense, berried-up and juicy, with a touch of dark chocolate and coffee. But this is what makes it special…the wine is elegant. It’s got a great nose, better on day 2 and has fresh, juicy fruit, just a delicious Cabernet.
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The raw materials of Nichols Cab, the crazy vineyard fruit, the barrels, the education, add up to a $60 wine – easy. But, this is a passion project for Britt and we appreciate being part of it.
An incredibly food friendly wine that is great for anything from salads, to poultry to dried meats.