Tasting Panel 95
Coombsville vineyards protected by the hills east of downtown Napa are home to this Chardonnay. Theyre as cool as Carneros but less windy, with deeper soils of gravel and volcanic ash, and their influence on this dignified white shows in its complex persona. A fine balance of stone fruit, acid structure, and zingy citrus creates a tangible yet delicate mouthfeel. Honeysuckle and gardenia offer significant floral tones.
Wine Enthusiast 94
Spicy oak and bright acidity complement each other in this well-made white, which shows strong tones of crisp citrus and green apple. It builds body on the midpalate, with integrated woody notes and lasting richness.
Wilfred Wong 92
COMMENTARY: The 2019 Far Niente Chardonnay packs satisfaction and style on the palate. TASTING NOTES: This wine shines with its attractive aromas and flavors of ripe fruit and oak. Pair it with grilled halibut in a savory, cream sauce. (Tasted: February 27, 2021, San Francisco, CA)
The 2019 vintage is the 40th Anniversary release of Far Niente Chardonnay.
Classically beautiful, the 2019 vintage opens with aromas of honeysuckle, white peach blossom and citrus zest, along with soft accents of vanilla. Silky stone fruit, lemon curd and honeydew flavors flow across the round, full palate, with lightly toasted oak, cool minerality and a lingering citrus note adding texture and depth. From its alluring perfume and pure fruit flavors to the graceful finish, this elegant Napa Valley Chardonnay captivates the senses.
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Far Niente was founded in 1885 by John Benson, a forty-niner of the California gold rush and uncle of the famous American impressionist painter, Winslow Homer. Benson hired architect Hamden McIntyre, creator of the former Christian Brothers winery--now the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone--to design the building. Constructed against a hillside in western Oakville, Far Niente 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, when it was abandoned and left to fall into disrepair. Sixty years later, in 1979, Gil Nickel purchased the winery and adjacent vineyard and began a three-year restoration of the property, which resulted in placement on the National Register of Historical Places. During restoration, the original name, Far Niente, from an Italian phrase that romantically translated means "without a care," was found carved in stone on the front of the building where it remains to this day. We felt an obligation to preserve the name with the hope that we could recapture a bygone era when life was indeed without a care.
Nineteen eighty-two marked the return of winemaking to Far Niente, with the harvest of the winery's first Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay was also produced at the winery for the first time that year; the 1979, '80 and '81 vintage wines were made at an offsite location. Today, the winery continues to focus on producing only the two varietal wines.