Arietta White Wine On the White Keys 2016
The latest vintage of the Arietta on the White Keys lands precisely on target, hitting the notes we look for in serious white wine, with a rather textbook growing season coming on the heels of a prolonged drought.
The blend of 84% Sauvignon Blanc and 16% Semillon is woven together like fine fabric, the high, floral and tropical tones of the Sauvignon Blanc being held up by the deep, viscous, honeyed character of the Semillon. Whole cluster pressed, the juice was fermented in a combination of Stainless Steel barrels, neutral oak, and new French Oak. Only a small number of barrels were allowed to complete malolactic fermentation, which allows the natural acidity and freshness of the wine to stay in the foreground.
A recent vertical tasting of On the White Keys showed the great promise of these wines for bottle aging, back to the first vintages made more than a decade ago. The 2016 will be no exception. Years in the bottle will add depth and interest to the wine, but right now the fresh, pure fruit character is seductive. Our longtime sources of fruit for the White Keys are hillside Sauvignon Blanc from the Farina Vineyard on Sonoma Mountain, and Sauvignon Musque and Semillon from the Hyde Vineyard on the Napa side of Carneros.
Blend: Sauvignon Blanc 84%, Sémillon 16%
Fruit Sources: 68% Sonoma Mountain, 32% Napa/Carneros
Cooperage:: 52% New French Oak, 28% Used French Oak, 20% Stainless Steel
Production:: 580 cases
Arietta Red Wine Quartet 2015
Arietta’s vines proved their resilience in 2015, working their way through the driest growing season on record in California. In the end, the vines found the resources necessary to ripen a balanced but fairly limited crop.
The grapes at harvest were intensely perfumed, with small berries and ample acidity. The wine is a reflection of the stalwart nature of Arietta’s carefully selected vineyard blocks in Coombsville, Carneros, and Calistoga: overtly aromatic, richly textured, and packed with generous black fruit flavors. There is a sublime combination of silkiness, generosity, and density in the wine, and it will certainly continue to reveal more layers over the course of 10 to 15 years in bottle.
Blend: 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc, 9% Petit Verdot
Fruit Sources: 40% Huckfeldt Vineyards Coombsville, 30% Hudson Vineyards Carneros, 6% Meteor Vineyards Coombsville, 24% Kenefick Ranch Calistoga
Cooperage: 52% New French Oak
Production: 800 cases
Arietta Merlot Hudson Vineyards 2015
This wine is a testament to the power of site. These vines, planted more than 30 years ago by Lee Hudson on his now-storied property in Carneros, are firmly established, mature, and able to withstand even the most challenging conditions as the drought of 2015. The clay-rich soils allowed the vines to extract what water was available to them throughout the growing season. The cool temperatures in that southern-most part of the valley, near the San Pablo Bay, allow the grapes to spend ample time on the vine, reaching full physiological ripeness.
This youthful offering of 93% Merlot and 7% Cabernet Franc from Hudson Vineyards is deep, dark, and at the same time bright and aromatic. From the glass, we find notes of red cherry, slate, flint, and caramel. On the palate, the wine is compact, clean and well defined, the red fruit character giving way to notes of nutmeg and burning embers. With time in the glass, and certainly with bottle age, the wine will open up and become more complex, broad, and expressive.
Blend: 93% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc
Fruit Sources: 100% Hudson Vineyard, Carneros
Cooperage: Aged 22 months in French oak, 69% new
Production: 206 cases
Arietta Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
This latest vintage for Arietta is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. As with all Arietta wines, the grapes hail from the coolest areas of the Napa Valley, the Cabernet Sauvignon coming from Meteor Vineyards in Coombsville, in the southeastern corner of Napa Valley. This gives the wine a savory quality, with notes of gravel and fresh-cut wood dancing on top of a rich core of black fruits, including fresh blackberry, baked plum, and cassis. The grapes at harvest were intensely perfumed, with small berries and ample acidity. The wines are a reflection of the stalwart nature of the Arietta vineyard blocks: overtly aromatic, richly textured, and packed with generous black fruit flavors. The dry conditions of the 2015 growing season only helped to concentrate and accentuate the expressive nature of the wine.
In the winery, the wine spent nearly a month on the skins, during a careful extended maceration. This added to the fruit intensity and mid-palate texture of the wine. Even at this early stage, it is showing a rich, extracted, but soft mouthfeel, and a very long finish. Like the other Arietta red wines from this vintage, this one will age for a very long time.
Blend: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Fruit Sources: 100% Coombsville
Age of Vines: 10-18 years
Cooperage: Aged 22 months in French oak, 49% new
Production: 142 cases
Arietta Red Wine H Block Hudson Vineyards 2015
The vines proved their resilience in 2015, working their way through the driest growing season on record in California. In the end, the vines seemed to find the resources necessary to ripen a balanced but fairly limited crop. The grapes at harvest were intensely perfumed, with small berries and ample acidity. The wines are a reflection of the stalwart nature of the Arietta vineyard blocks: overtly aromatic, richly textured, and packed with generous black fruit flavors.
Arietta’s winemaker Andy Erickson notes: A co-fermented blend of 75% Cabernet Franc and 25% Merlot from Hudson Vineyards, the Arietta Red Wine H Block Hudson Vineyards is poised to stand with some of the best vintages produced in the last 20 years. The wine offers all that is special about Cabernet Franc grown in the perfect setting—black-purple color, a broad-shouldered stature, and a plush, velvety texture, along with notes of black currant, raspberry, blueberry, clove, and dried flowers. On the palate, more layers are revealed, including hints of fresh blueberry, pencil lead, and dried sage. The 2015 Arietta H Block Hudson Vineyards is incredibly focused and well-proportioned, and if anything is somewhat shy at present. This signals a long life ahead in bottle, with more nuance and suppleness being unveiled at each successive tasting. It should age easily for 20+ years.
Blend: 75% Cabernet Franc, 25% Merlot
Fruit Sources: 100% Hudson Vineyard, Carneros
Age of Vines: 28 years
Cooperage: Aged 22 months in French oak, 53% new
Production: 283 cases