Some tasting rooms allow you to pop in for a quick tasting, others you need an appointment for, and some you have to commit to both a tour and tasting (some of which can last up to 2 hours). At Nickel & Nickel Vineyards, but we had no choice but to do a tour and tasting.
At 11:30 am on a recent Friday, we were waiting in the parlor at Nickel & Nickel quaffing the 2007 Searby Vineyard Chardonnay. The golden colored wine was pungent with oak and butter, but it's a style that is still loved by many (even if I'm not speaking for myself). The room, like the rest of the house, was traditionally decorated and impeccably maintained (we learned later that the house was built in the early 1900s). Our tour guide, Tim, told us a little bit about Nickel & Nickel's history, the philosophy behind making small-lot, single vineyard wines, and then asked us to leave our glasses before taking us outside into the garden.
Like it's sister winery, Far Niente, Nickel & Nickel has beautifully landscaped grounds. You didn't have to stop, to smell the roses here.
Tim was well-versed on every aspect of the winery. He showed us the old barn, which contains the lab, and the new barns (full of shiny stainless steel tanks) and the pristine crush pads (one for Chardonnay and the other for the red wines). He walked us through the underground cellar before leading us to a long table in a room downstairs from the parlor where our tour began. There were 4 glasses of Cabernet Sauvignon waiting for us.
Each wine was highly concentrated, with earthy flavors, and a tight mineral core. The Cab from the Tench Vineyard in Oakville was my favorite, but for $90 a bottle, I kept my credit card in my wallet. It was an informative and entertaining tour of such a well-maintained property; I highly recommend it.