I recently shared this bottle of wine, (and a couple of others), with Vinomaker and Thud. It was fantastic. You don't always get what you pay for with the higher end Napa Cabernets but this wine was truly wonderful. The Far Niente 2005 Cabernet sauvignon was very elegant and very finessed, reminiscent of a first growth Bordeaux without being old and tired. Granted, I didn't pay full price for it, I was able to get the employee discount from a friend who works there, but I am actually thinking it was well worth the $125 asking price.
I am very familiar with how truly magnificent Oakville Cabernets can be. Soil type and climate mid-valley have a lot to do with this, along with the vintage, and the artistry of the winemaker, but the skill of the vineyard manager cannot be overlooked. The stewardship of the grapevines is often ignored by wine writers, reviewers and bloggers...but what do they know? (It seems redundant to point out that without great grapes you cannot produce a great wine, but this fact is often disregarded. You can however make a crappy wine from great grapes.)
So, I doff my cap to the dedicated grape grower who was out at 2.00 a.m. this morning, starting the fans for the Far Niente Chardonnay, whilst I snuggled into a warm, cosy bed and was lulled into a deep sleep by their rather pleasant drone. I'll grant you that he earns every penny he gets.