The Far Niente Winery was established in 1885 by John Benson, a forty-niner of the California gold rush and uncle of the famous American impressionist painter, Winslow Homer. Artistry clearly ran in the family because Benson hired Hamden McIntyre, creator of the former Christian Brothers Winery—now the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone—to design the building. The building itself is a piece of art designed to both astound the eye, and the palate, since it functioned as a gravity flow winery, gently moving the grapes through each stage of production.
Far Niente prospered until the onset of Prohibition in 1919, whereupon it fell into disrepair. Sixty years later, in 1979, Gil Nickel purchased the winery and adjacent vineyard and began a three-year restoration process which resulted in its placement on the National Register of Historic Places.
Far Niente has been growing and making Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa Valley since 1982. Rooted exclusively in Oakville, Far Niente Estate Bottled Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, Oakvilleis the most iconic Cabernet in the portfolio.
"Far Niente" is Italian for "do nothing."
A top notch effort from Far Niente, this 1991 Cabernet Sauvignon requires several more years of cellaring as it remains closed and forbiddingly backward and tight. From its opaque ruby/purple color, to its impressively pure, rich nose of cassis, herbs, and oak, this full-bodied, powerful, highly extracted, moderately tannic Cabernet is a candidate for 10-15 more years of cellaring. Don't be surprised to see this wine merit an outstanding score in 6-7 years. ~89 WA
Supple and elegant, with a finely crafted band of spicy currant, black cherry, cedar, anise and light oak shadings. Impressive for its balance and delicacy. Finishes with firm but fine tannins. Appealing now, but has the depth and concentration to last into the next decade. Best after 1997. 11,000 cases made. ~89WS
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