Dolce Far Niente Wine Bar.wmv
Dolce embraces a deceptively simple philosophy is to the pursuit of perfection in the art of late harvest winemaking. Dolce is an extraordinary wine bred from a combination of sunshine, soil, fog, expertise and dedication; a wondrous luxury, limited by nature to always being a gift of absurd rarity. Dolce is the only American winery dedicated to producing a single late harvest wine.
The Dolce cellar is located within the caves of its sister winery, Far Niente, in California’s Napa Valley.
- Liquid Gold from Napa Valley.
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Practices & Techniques
Pressing grapes is the first step in the three-year journey to realizing Dolce. Because of the diligence in picking only perfectly botryised fruit, there may be as little as two or three barrels of juice to show from a day’s picking and pressing. The precious juice drops from the skins and is as sticky as syrup.
After many hours of pressing, the skins are dry to the touch and the juice settles in a small tank under the scrutiny and care of the winemaker.
Where most wines complete fermentation in a few days or weeks, Dolce fermentation proceeds at a stately pace of about six months inside each French oak barrel. Juice with such a high sugar concentration is an extremely difficult environment for yeast. The winemaker constantly analyzes the wine, shepherding each barrel in its journey, as sugar is converted and flavors emerge.
Dolce invests in 100 percent new French oak barrels with every vintage. Each stave is selected specifically by its density. The barrels are toasted over oak fires to meet Dolce’s specific needs as the wine will spend nearly three years maturing in barrel. Not only are the wine’s flavors slower to release and integrate over extended time in barrel, but these are the only barrels suited to aging Dolce. Harmony between the wine and the barrel are imperative.
Time in barrel is one of constant change and transformation. At first, each barrel is opened every seven days. The wine is checked and topped to replace anything lost to evaporation. Each barrel is regularly tasted and evaluated throughout its maturation to determine if it will be selected to be part of the final blend.
Sometime during the third year, only the finest barrels are chosen, blended and bottled. The wine in the bottle represents but a fraction of the grapes, juice and wine that started the journey.
AN INTRICATE BLEND
While laboratory analysis is never ignored, great blends begin and end with tasting. As each barrel is evaluated, we discover where blending two barrels creates harmony and where they clash. It is the winemaker’s sense of Dolce’s house style, in harmony with the characteristics of the vintage, which provides the perspective to create the finest blend. Hundreds of options are honed to a single wine expressing Dolce for that year.
Estate Vineyards / AVA
This is one of the coolest areas of the valley, it is well protected from the morning and evening breezes. The fog, critical to noble rot, can settle longer, helping the all-important transformation of Dolce’s small crop each fall.