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2011 Arietta Red Wine H Block Hudson Vineyards

The 2011 Arietta Red Wine H Block Hudson Vineyards, Arietta's "eldest child” and best known red wine, returns to the fold after a year-long sabbatical. Beginning with the 2011 vintage, Merlot from the adjacent Hudson I Block joins the Cabernet Franc from our celebrated H Block on the Hudson Ranch on the Napa side of Carneros, and provides an especially juicy core to the wine. We welcomed the H Block's new Merlot partner by making a wine that is 54% Merlot and 46% Cabernet Franc – the first reverse blend for the H Block since 2001. The ethereal aromatics of the H Block Cabernet Franc in late and cool vintages such as 2011 are legendary, as those lucky enough to have experienced the 1998 and 2000 vintages can attest. The Merlot from the Hudson I Block, to which Arietta moved in 2010 after the uprooting of our N Block, has proved to be a perfect partner to the H Block Franc, with its immediately adjacent location, greater degree of slope, and slightly warmer exposure.

Blend: 46% Cabernet Franc, 54% Merlot
Fruit sources: 100% Carneros (Napa), Hudson Ranch
Age of vines: 22-25 years
Appellation: Napa Valley
Cooperage: 78% new French Oak
Production: 372 cases of bottles and 25 cases of magnums
Release date: 9/1/13

2011 Arietta Cabernet Sauvignon

The success of the 2011 Arietta Cabernet Sauvignon is a testament to the skills of Arietta winemakers Andy Erickson and Morgan Maureze. The long, cool, and periodically wet season required considerably more work than usual in the vineyard and the cellar. A wine of top caliber required reduction of crop and elimination of less than A-grade lots, and in the end production of the Arietta Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 was a mere 204 cases of bottles and 25 cases of magnums. As lovers of the old world style, we find this wine particularly flattering, with glorious and ethereal aromas, a graceful palate impression, and a gently persistent finish. The Arietta Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 shares the precociousness of the other Arietta red wines from the 2011 vintage, but has sufficient tannic backbone to carry it fifteen years or more.

Blend: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Fruit sources: 90% Coombsville, 10% Calistoga
Appellation: Napa Valley
Cooperage: 70% new French Oak
Production: 204 cases of bottles and 25 cases of magnums
Release date: 9/1/13

Arietta Red Wine "Quartet"

This sixth vintage of Arietta Red Wine "Quartet" features a superb vineyard source planted by viticulturist David Abreu in 2003. The vineyard, located in the relatively cool climate of Coombsville, was planted as if it had been designed for Arietta Quartet: just under two acres of Cabernet Sauvignon (Clones 4 and 337), a half-acre of Merlot, and a quarter acre each of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The fruit produces wine which is plush and classy – without being heavy – ideal for Quartet, which is made to be approachable upon release. We spend many happy hours blending Arietta Quartet, which is composed of numerous small lots. The judicious addition of fruit from Arietta's sources in Calistoga and Carneros adds depth, balance, and complexity. Ready to enjoy now, the Arietta Quartet 2011 should evolve beautifully in bottle for five to ten years.

Blend: 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot
Fruit sources: 56% Coombsville, 12% Carneros, 32% Calistoga
Cooperage: 74% new French Oak, 23% second use French oak
Production: 900 cases

Morgan Maureze, who earned degrees in oenology and viticulture at both UC Davis and the University of Bordeaux, and worked at Chateaux Petrus and Haut-Brion, took the challenging growing conditions in stride. "Typical vintage conditions in Bordeaux; we dealt with them all the time!” The talents, training, and international experience of Arietta's winemaking team paid off, and wine critic Steven Tanzer complimented their efforts, preferring the 2011 Quartet to the 2010: "Dark red-ruby. Expressive aromas of black raspberry, pepper, mocha, leather, menthol and coffee. Dense and sweet but youthfully tight, with a sappy impression of firm acidity energizing the mid-palate. Finishes savory, peppery and perfumed, with a firm tannic spine. Not a thick wine but one that boasts excellent energy and supporting spine.”

The Arietta Variation One 2009 is a dense, aromatic, singular wine produced by cofermenting two very different varieties - Merlot and Syrah - grown on land uniquely suited to both. At once plump and solid, the wine shows the best of both varieties, with Merlot (48% in this vintage) providing a juicy fruit-forward package, buttressed by a rock-solid framework of Syrah (52%), with its smoky, mineral complexity and firm structure. The experience is a rare mingling of baked blackberries, anise, fresh bread, and campfire aromas. A balanced wine of considerable weight and density, the Arietta Variation One 2009 is built to last.

Blend: 52% Syrah, 48% Merlot
Fruit sources: 100% Hudson Vineyards, Carneros
Cooperage: 92% new French oak
Production: 250 cases

Arietta "On The White Keys" 2012

Arietta's unique white wine, "On The White Keys," is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. While this blend is typical of Grand Cru White Bordeaux, Arietta "On The White Keys" 2012 also resembles the finest upriver Loires in its fresh and bracing presentation of Sauvignon Blanc. The goal of the winemaking is to marry a vibrant entry to a long and complex finish. The former is accomplished through the choice of unusually intense hillside Sauvignon Blanc from Sonoma Mountain, selective use of stainless steel barrels, partial blockage of malolactic fermentation, and bottling relatively young at nine months. The latter is accomplished through 100% barrel fermentation, the use of approximately 50% new French oak barrels, and the addition of Semillon from thirty year old vines in the Hyde Vineyard in Napa/Carneros.

Blend: 85% Sauvignon Blanc, 15% Semillon
Fruit sources: 53% Sonoma Mountain, 31% Carneros, 16% Napa
Cooperage: New French oak 50%, second use French oak 31%, stainless steel 19%
Production: 500 cases

Tasting Notes from winemaker Andy Erickson:

"...the wine is effusively aromatic, with notes of honeysuckle, grapefruit zest, sea breeze and subtle toasty oak tones. The growing season was nearly ideal, the fruit a pleasure to work with, and the wine is a focused reflection of all of it: precise, generously flavorful, layered, serious but whimsical. On the palate the wine excites the senses, eliciting memories of candied citrus rind, lemon drops, and orange blossoms, expanding into deeper and yet more nuanced flavors, and finishing with a squeeze of Meyer lemon and a dash of sea salt. Perfectly enjoyable now, the White Keys 2012 will develop a light golden sheen and aromas of honey and beeswax over time."