Friday, March 3, 2017

Far Niente Napa Valley Chardonnay 2014

Far Niente Napa Valley Chardonnay 2014

For a classic 'power' lunch with a strategic partner, we dined at Chicago Cut Steakhouse on LaSalle Street at the river. Having just had prime NY Strip Steak the evening before, I opted for the Dover Sole entree special. It came in two sizes, 18 or 20 oz, and the smaller 18 oz was the perfect portion size. It was better than I expected, but not as good as I hoped.

The sole was prepared perfectly with creamy buttery lemon sauce dusted with crusted almond. The ceremonial table-side preparation, adding the sauces and deboning, during prime-time noon lunch hour, resulted in the entree having cooled to be barely warm by the time it was served. It was delightful none-the-less. (Note that my standard for the best sole experience is the Petrale Sole at Scott's Seafood (my absolute favorite) in the Bay Area, or better yet, the Sand Dabs, aka Rex Sole, at Scoma's in San Francisco and/or Sauselito.)

To accompany the Sole seafood entree, I chose the Far Niente Napa Chardonnay 2014, BTG (by the glass). The Chicago Cut power lunch wine accompaniment comes at a price at $25 per glass ~ 2.5x retail price.

Shown is 2013
Far Niente Chardonnay
Far Niente Chardonnay is sourced from Napa Valley vineyards in the Coombsville sub-region, snuggling up against the foothills each of the city of Napa, and the Carneros appellation, down at the bottom of the Mayacamas range that separates Napa and Sonoma Valleys.

Each of these areas are cooler due to the light breezes and night-time fog that roll in off the San Pablo Bay at the bottom of Napa Valley. Each of these areas are considered prime growing areas for the Burgundian varietals, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Far Niente produces a premium Chardonnay, known for subtle, tropical flavors, complex aromas and uncommon richness.

As written in my review of the 2014 Trefethan Napa Chardonnay the other day, the 2014 growing season was the third consecutive year with drought conditions. Never-the-less, rains in late winter and early spring filled the local reservoirs providing frost protection and irrigation. A warm and windy spring resulted in an earlier than normal growing season, two weeks ahead of normal.

Ideal weather and favorable growing conditions persisted through the summer months allowing the grapes to ripen for the earliest harvest in over a decade. The Far Niente harvest began on August 21st. Just three days later, the area encountered a huge earthquake, but Far Niente was able to continue the harvest, picking at the precise optimal time to realize perfectly ripened Chardonnay fruit.

This 2014 Far Niente Chardonnay was golden, almost honey colored, with medium body, opening with light tropical notes, subtle melon, rich citrus and a layer of creamy toasted oak and mineral, finishing in bright acidity, lingering citrus tones with hints of lightly toasted almond and wet stone.

RM 91 points.