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The Dirt on Nickel & Nickel's Top Oakville Cabernets

05.14.21

The Dirt on Nickel & Nickel's Top Oakville Cabernets

“It’s hard to say that one particular area of Napa truly produces the best Cabernet, but it’s also hard to find someplace that has more claim to that title than the Oakville AVA.” – Alder Yarrow, Vinography

Of the 16 Napa Valley AVAs, Oakville produces some of the most tremendous Cabernets.

At Nickel & Nickel, we currently grow and craft four single-vineyard, 100% Cabernet Sauvignons from the Oakville appellation. Each of these single-vineyard Cabernets is a celebration of place, an exploration of terroir that reveals how vineyards only miles apart yield dynamic wines that offer a sense of place in every sip. Each of these Napa Valley wines also consistently reminds us why Oakville is not just the geographic heart of the Napa Valley, but is also the hub for critically acclaimed Cabernet Sauvignon.

From soil diversity to sun exposure, read on to get the dirt on each of these top Oakville Cabernets.

Nickel & Nickel John C. Sullenger Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

The 95-Point Cellar Selection You Won’t Want to Cellar

Sullenger Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet
John C. Sullenger Vineyard, Oakville, Napa Valley


The Dirt: Our home vineyard surrounding Nickel & Nickel Winery, this Oakville vineyard’s location in the literal center of the Napa Valley – and at the toe of a western alluvial soil fan – afford every vine consistent sun exposure and subtle soil variation. Precise pruning and canopy management allows every cluster to take advantage of this prime location and give us the concentrated fruit flavors we know so well.

Flavor Profile: Seductive plum and black cherry flavors, supple tannin core and toasted oak and earth accents. Aka, all the palate-filling hallmarks of our home vineyard.

“This is classic Oakville. You know it’s going to age well – Wine Enthusiast named it a Cellar Selection for a reason – but you can’t resist filling your glass and savoring those round, full flavors now.” – Joe Harden, Nickel & Nickel Winemaker


Nickel & Nickel Branding Iron Vineyard Cabernet

Deeply Rooted and Utterly Riveting

Branding Iron Vineyard Oakville Cabernet
Branding Iron Vineyard, Oakville, Napa Valley


The Dirt: 1998. The year we made our first vintage of Branding Iron Vineyard Cabernet. Fast forward 20 vintages, and we’ve only grown more enamored with wine from this deeply-rooted site in western Oakville. The vineyard stretches across eight and a half well-draining acres at the base of the Mayacamas Mountains, where warm morning and afternoon sun exposure allows for long hang times and slow, even ripening.

Flavor Profile: Round and generous on the palate, with dense black cherry and blackberry fruit flavors, focused tannins and hints of dried herbs on a long finish.

“This beautiful eight-acre vineyard is right at the base of the Mayacama hillside. Because the vines are older and the roots dig down deep, Branding Iron Cabernets have the coveted ability to thrive in tough growing seasons as well as great years. The 2018 release is also one of the most instantly approachable wines of the vintage.” – Joe Harden, Nickel & Nickel Winemaker


Nickel & Nickel Martin Stelling Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

A Symphony of Aroma, Flavor, Texture, Structure and Length

Martin Stelling Vineyard, Oakville, Napa Valley
Martin Stelling Vineyard, Oakville, Napa Valley


The Dirt: One of Oakville’s most coveted vineyard parcels, Martin Stelling stretches into the western Oakville foothills and is surrounded by famed properties including To Kalon and Martha’s Vineyard. Just two acres of this prestigious vineyard are reserved for Nickel & Nickel’s single-vineyard portfolio. One of the rare sites that sits on its own alluvial fan, Stelling Vineyard features gravel and clay deposits throughout the site’s three sloping blocks. Soil movement from the surrounding hills adds to the variation in each block, giving rich dimension and concentration to our fruit.

Flavor Profile: Brooding and elegant, with a black cherry and cassis perfume that opens onto crescendo of black cherry, blackberry, dried herb and baking spice flavors. Tannins are pure velvet.

“Stelling Vineyard Cabernet is like discovering the all-American athlete, first chair violin and straight-A student all rolled into one. When the raw materials are of such caliber, my main job is to get out of the way and let Stelling’s power, structure and dark berry flavors speak for themselves.” – Joe Harden, Nickel & Nickel Winemaker


Nickel & Nickel Air Show Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

A New Oakville Addition with Soaring Potential

Air Show Vineyard, Oakville, Napa Valley
Air Show Vineyard, Oakville, Napa Valley


The Dirt: We planted this vineyard on five and a half acres along the Oakville crossroad, in the heart of Napa Valley, where gravelly, well-draining soils give us fruit with layered flavors and rich tannins. After three vintages, this single-vineyard Cabernet’s star quality is starting to shine. As the vines mature and we gain a deeper understanding of how to shepherd our fruit through the growing season, our Air Show Cabernet will just keep getting better.

Flavor Profile: Lively and perfumed with bright raspberry-cherry and spice aromatics, ample red berry flavors and a full, generous palate. Cool minerality and warm oak linger on the finish.

“Our Air Show Cabernet may pay homage to the birds of the Napa Valley, but it’s the high-draining soils and incredible location of this vineyard that gives our wine this explosion of pretty, fresh black cherry/blackberry fruits, along with a liveliness on the palate and a subtle river rock essence that I find really appealing.” – Joe Harden, Nickel & Nickel Winemaker



Oakville and Beyond. An Invitation to Get to Know Our Single-Vineyard Wines Firsthand. At Nickel & Nickel, we take the phrase "no two wines are alike" to a whole new level. Cabernet is our first love, but we also offer a carefully curated portfolio of single-vineyard Merlot, Syrah and Chardonnay. We'd love for you to experience these wines with us at our Oakville, Napa Valley winery. Join us on the back porch or claim a spot beside the pond outside our Queen Anne-style farmstead and classically built barns. Every Nickel & Nickel wine tasting is exclusive to your group, with comfortable seating generously spaced across the property. It's one of the best ways to spend a day in the Napa Valley.


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