Scoring 17+ points on the 20-point Dionysian scale, this 28-year-old 1989 Far Niente Chardonnay from the Napa Valley,  had 13.5% alcohol, and cost nearly $20 back then.  Buttery flavors filled with oak called for cheese. The wine had a baked-apple taste with the complexities of age.

I seldom age Californian whites this long, but “without a care” as Far Niente means, I let it sleep for nearly three decades just to learn.


Founded in 1885, the winery was inactive until the Nickel family brought it back. All their wines are expensive, (NIckel & Nickel Wines) but are special with the right matching dish.

The winery’s goal is to make the best Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon¬† possible from their location. Newer vintages have less oak and are almost worth the cost.


Served with a baked Brie laced with reduced blackberries help the Chardonnay show its best. Old white wines seem to change more than old reds do.

Many times an old wine should be the feature of the meal, but many times it needs help to show its best. In Vino Veritas.