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Wine to me is passion. It's family and friends. It's warmth of heart and generosity of spirit. Wine is art. It's culture. It's the essence of civilization and the art of living. - Robert Mondavi

A Nickel and Nickel...Definitely Worth a Dime

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Nickel and Nickel kicked off the harvest season with a flawless evening of food, music, dancing, and of course, wine, at their annual summer “Evening Under the Stars” event last Saturday, August 28th, 2010. Nickel & Nickel is located in Oakville, along Highway 29, on 42 acres that were originally settled as a farmstead in the 1880s. After visiting Nickel and Nickel the weekend prior to the event for a tasting of the winery’s purely single vineyard Cabernets, Garrett and I received an invite to their open-air gala and couldn’t resist sneaking up to Napa for a second round of wine tasting and feasting!

We were greeted by Laura Nickel as we arrived at N&N, who handed us our fir
glass of chardonnay and invited us through the winery’s original Queen Anne-style home to the back patio. The home is beautiful and classically appointed with fresh florals and candles - you truly feel that you are a Sunday dinner guest on an old farmstead. On the patio, a four-piece Latin band livened up the mood as we enjoyed passed canapes and overlooked the acres of vineyards, and the winery’s collection of classic barns and took in the golden hue cast across the Vaca mountains as the sun set.
Dinner commenced and we were escorted out to the open-air courtyard in front of the Gleason Barn. Tent-like, sheer, gauzy golden overhangs had been created over the dining tables bordering the brook-like fountain that trickles down the courtyard, and were set in teal and gold with three types of wine glasses, cut crystal water glasses, and pressed shimmery golden napkins, folded as elegantly as origamy, in which darling teal ad gold menus were nestled. Mrs Laura Nickel, an elegant woman, with a down-to earth smile and warm southern accent, welcomed us to the event and it was heart warming to hear her talk about the teamwork and relationships forged at the winery. One or more members of N&N winery, be they the wine makers, educators, or family members, etc., were seated at each table which added to the family feel of the event and was great way to get guests and wine club members more engaged with the brand and with upcoming future releases. We then enjoyed a delicious three course meal, prepared after many dedicated planing hours by N&N’s own on-property chef - salmon with micro greens and corn fritter, beef two ways (filet and shortribs) with mushrooms and roast potatoes, and a cheese course, complimented by the single vineyard cabs. A live band was set on an outdoor stage and played upbeat music while professional dancer couples performed between courses. Another nice touch was the JD Sulliner Cab served with the cheese course in magnum bottles, which enhanced the celebratory feel of the event and commenced with everyone getting invited to the outdoor dance floor do dance off the indulgent imbibing and feasting!

We probably could have danced the night away, but the wind picked up, so we headed to the Dolce Dessert Cafe in the Gleason Barn, which had been converted to an “after hours club” of sorts and offered an endless supply of sweet dolce dessert wine and other goodies. A bit of interesting background on the final venue- taken from N&N’s site: Gleason Barn was originally built circa 1770 in Meriden, New Hampshire by the Gleason family. The 3,000 square-foot pre-Revolutionary War-era hay barn was spared demolition by its purchase in 2001. After two years spent dismantling the barn, designing blueprints, restoring and saving the wood beams, the barn was shipped in pieces to Nickel & Nickel and was reconstructed at the winery in 2003 to house offices and a laboratory for the winemaking staff.

After one too many glasses of wine, I tripped (oops!) spilling my freshly made coffee down the front of my white dress, which brought our evening to a conclusion - a blessing in disguise given the generous amount of wine I had consumed during the four hours of the celebration! As we drove away, we waved goodbye to Star and Pearl, the winery’s horses housed out in front inside a white picket fence corral - and I wondered if I was dreaming or if I had gone back in time...So as for my thoughts - Nickel and Nickel pulled together the quintessential harvest celebration which was both elegant and warm and seamlessly executed. I am already signed up to return next year...and hope you’ll join! Learn more about Nickel and Nickel, or set up a visit here: http://www.nickelandnickel.com

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