How is Nickel & Nickel perceived among Cab fans?

I was gifted a bottle of the 2011 Branding Iron SVD Cab, but could find little information on this wine except from the winery website. Must say, gorgeous bottle and label. Ouch, and quite pricey.

I drink very little Cali Cab so don’t know how this wine is perceived in terms of quality. Not many threads on this site about Nickel & Nickel. My father and brother in law, who prefer a more modern-styled wine, liked it. I could not get past the very off-putting nose of caramel popcorn. Found it nauseating. Otherwise, the palate was rich, velvety and low acid. Modest structure, and for a young wine, tannins were soft. Seems like a wine meant to drink early; seems like a wine for those high-end steak restaurants, frankly.


Robert, I think you nailed it with your notes. I don’t personally collect the wine and most notes from cab lovers on this forum would suggest they steer clear too. Maybe not quite as syrupy as a 2012 Caymus, but still firmly in the “steakhouse company expense account” category. So many nicer selections out there at much better prices. At least you got to try it on someone else’s nickel! [snort.gif]

Here is a longer thread. I have a few bottles left from a mixed case of 07s that I got for like $50/btl. By and large I have enjoyed opening them.

Vogt and CC Ranch have been recently good. Their home vineyard on Hwy 29, Sullenger, seems more middle of the fairway. I know there is some enthusiasm for the wine you tried too Robert.

Their elite Cab, Martin Stelling, can be well into 3 figures.

Interesting - the same owners own Far Niente, which I’ve only tasted a few times but found to be in a classic-leaning style. Is Nickel & Nickel their modern-styled line in contrast?

My wife picked up a few bottles early on and I think we even have one left. I would agree with your easy drinking assessment. Golden Raisins always came to mind when I tried it.

Just picked up 5 bottles of the 2006 Sullenger at auction for $45 all in. Will open one soon and report back.

If you are ever out in Napa, arrange a tasting there. A stunning facility - at least I thought so when I was there last about 10 years ago. They purchased a 19th Century farmhouse in Vermont and moved it piece by piece out to Napa - it really is beautiful.

Their cellar is quite nice as well - all barrels single stacked last time I was there. They had some ‘flooding’ issues before opening - didn’t realize how high the water table was in the area - and had to install so pretty fancy stuff to make sure it didn’t continue to happen.

IIRC, Dolce is also produced there. Yeah, I know - they WANT to be like Yquem . . . but I usually find it to be quite good - just a tad expensive.

YMMV but it’s an interesting place for sure.


Alan, N&N is their single vineyard bottling.

I was gifted a 2007 bottle earlier this year and was disappointed when I opened it back in October. It was my only experience with N&N. Based on that one bottle, there’s a lot I would rather do with $150.

Fruit froward for sure but if you are intrigued to try cab from the historic Tench Vineyard (one of their single vineyard offerings), this is a decent way to do it at a reasonable price ($60-$75). Bevan uses Tench. It borders Screaming Eagle and Backus.

So the take-away seems to be: nice bottle, pretty transplanted New England farmhouse, cool barrel racks; not so much love for the wine.

i have never been a fan

better yet, buy the Riverain cabernet which is Tench vineyard and made by TRB. Probably a berserker day special coming soon.

Thanks- great call. TRB can’t be beat.

I have never tried a N&N, although I have a couple in my inventory.

Coincidentally, though, just the other day my coffee shop buddy, Ron, who is definitely not a wine guy, mentioned that he used to know Gil Nickel as a vintage car racer. Ron really liked Gil who raced Lotuses, had a very nice garage at Sears Point, was, very much, a gentleman, and was a very good amateur driver.

Ron is coming over on New Years Eve. So, I was planning on pulling out one of those N&Ns, that evening so that we could toast Gil.

I used to be in the Far Niente/ Nickel and Nickel Club, good wine. Expensive though. I’m ok with expensive as long as I’m (semi) comfortable with the value.

I wasn’t comfortable with the value and at some point grew a little tired of staff at tastings at the winery. Too formal, and I felt more than a little pretentious. Dropped a couple years ago.

That being said, the wines…

I REALLY liked the Kelham and Vogt vineyards wines. Just understand, they are single vineyard wines… No blending. What the earth gives them for that vineyard in any given year is what you get. You like it our you don’t. I like the regular Far Niente wines much better. It’s an Oakville Cab blend of a few vineyards and it is to me pretty darn good… But again, expensive. But Oakville is these days. I really loaded up on a lot of their 07s and 08s and I think in many years they will be impressive.

Excellent, will be on the lookout!

As stated above, well made wines, but IMO not worth the cost (save the Tench). I think the vision is good, but they get mired down in TOO many SVD ventures across varietals. Definitely for short term enjoyment by the steakhouse expense account crowd and not built for long term aging.

Far Niente is a different beast in both Cab and Chard as they attempt to make age worthy, Old World wines. WAY overrated in both price and quality. Honestly, I think one is paying literally for that fancy label and Gil’s collection of high end sports cars.

I’ve had the N&N SVDs over the years and wasn’t sure what to make of them. The early vintages needed time and as the years progressed so did the fruit and alcohol levels of the wine. My favorite was always the Tench. The labels are too busy and if you rack them all together you have to double check the label to see which SVD it is. Kinda like walking the aisle of Rosenblum Zinfandels.