Nickel & Nickel, Oakville (Napa Valley, California) Cabernet Sauvignon Martin Stelling Vineyard 2014

($160): Nickel & Nickel’s Cabernet from the Martin Stelling vineyard is fascinatingly different from the one from the John C. Sullenger Vineyard. It conveys dark fruit with more minerals, bordering on a tarry element, rather than the floweriness of the Sullenger.  What they have in common are elegant, fine tannins, a haunting complexity with layers of flavors appearing with each sip, and beautiful balance.  What makes them both stand outs is how different they are despite both coming from grapes grown in the Oakville section of the Napa Valley.  They show dramatically that the French have no monopoly on terroir — it exists in California (no surprise there) — you just need a winemaking team that focuses on it.  If you had to make an analogy to Bordeaux, I would say the Martin Stelling is more Pauillac-like while the Sullenger is more akin to a top-notch St. Emilion.
97 Michael Apstein Jul 11, 2017