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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 2016

Arietta Quartet is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot from carefully chosen vineyard blocks in the Napa Valley. Aged for 20 months in French oak barrels (61% new), Arietta Quartet is approachable upon release, but rich enough to age well for ten years or more. The label features a drawing of the instruments of the string quartet by eight year old Libby Hatton, a future proprietor of Arietta, over a manuscript fragment of the famous Cavatina movement from Beethoven's String Quartet Opus 130.

The Arietta Red Wine Quartet 2016 benefits from two new vineyard sources at the southern end of Napa Valley, both providing Cabernet Sauvignon, and both managed by the superb viticulturist, Mike Wolf. This change makes more attainable our continuing quest for the most exquisite balance of ripeness and freshness in the Arietta wines.

Blend: 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot
Fruit Sources: 42% Coombsville, 30% Carneros, 18% Calistoga
Elevage: 22 months in French oak barrels, 61% new
Production: 1,461 cases

Arietta Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Our goal in producing Arietta Cabernet Sauvignon has always been to make a wine of balance and persistence, mindful of the styles and traditions of Great Growth Bordeaux. Coming on the heels of a prolonged multi-year drought, the 2016 growing season was defined by near-ideal conditions. In most vintages including 2016 we source Arietta's Cabernet Sauvignon entirely from our 1.7 acre block of Clone 337 Cabernet in the Meteor Vineyard, in the heart of the Coombsville appellation just east of the city of Napa. The lower than average Napa temperatures, moderately sloping southwest exposure, and well drained soils allow for a longer ripening season, and flavor intensity at lower sugars.

Blend: 97% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot
Fruit Sources: 97% Coombsville, 3% Oakville
Elevage: Aged 22 months in French oak barrels, 76% new
Production: 109 cases

Arietta Red Wine H Block Hudson Vineyards 2016

This blend of 70% Cabernet Franc and 30% Merlot takes the expression of the Hudson Vineyard terroir to a new level of complexity. The core of the "H Block" cuvée comes from thirty-year-old Cabernet Franc vines planted on a rare volcanic outcropping just above the Hudson "Merlot Cathedral." The 2016 vintage was cofermented, taking just the heart of the Merlot block and harvesting it on the same day as the Cabernet Franc. After aging for twenty months in two-thirds new French oak, the wine was bottled without fining or filtration to preserve the power and subtlety of the vintage. Aromas of lavender, orange blossom, and anise are in harmony with the ripe Napa Valley fruit profile. Solid and well textured, the wine flows across the palate, blackberry, currant, and black cherry flavors mixed with hints of dried flowers, flint, and black licorice. This vintage of "H Block" will certainly age for decades to come.

Blend: 70% Cabernet Franc, 30% Merlot, co-fermented
Fruit Sources: 100% Hudson Vineyard, Carneros
Age of Vines: 29 years
Cooperage: Aged 20 months in French oak barrels, 68% new
Production: 411 cases

Arietta Merlot Hudson Vineyards 2016

The 2016 Arietta Merlot, as is true with most vintages, is 100% Merlot. The grapes come from the oldest vines planted on Hudson Vineyards, from a block Lee Hudson has referred to as the "Merlot Cathedral." The vines indeed are statuesque, deeply rooted, and able to ripen the fruit gradually and fully. The wine from 2016 showcases the strength of this great terroir, presenting the full spectrum of Merlot character. Notes of blue and black fruits dance with aromas of baking spices, cocoa, pot de crème and graphite. On the palate the combination of fresh acidity and rounded but structured tannins is palpable. This wine is a reminder of just how impressive Merlot can be when grown on the right soils, in the cooler climes of the Napa Valley. It will be pure pleasure to taste this wine over the years as it develops in the bottle.

Blend: 100% Merlot
Fruit Sources: 100% Hudson Vineyard, Carneros
Elevage: Aged 20 months in French oak barrels, 61% new
Production: 285 cases

Arietta Variation One Hudson Vineyards 2016

The power and richness of the 2016 vintage is on display in the Arietta Red Wine "Variation One," a blend of roughly 60% Syrah and 40% Merlot from Hudson Vineyards. Both of these varieties thrive in the cooler Carneros appellation of Napa Valley, and on Hudson's clay loam soils, making this untraditional blend a novel twist on the concept of a terroir-driven wine. The opaque, densely packed, earth-driven character of the Syrah is tamed by the bright, juicy, rich, fruit-driven flavors of the Merlot. The aromatics are endlessly complex, as notes of flint, smoke, and gravel weave together with aromas of fresh blueberries, blackberry pie, black cherry and chocolate. The palate is weighty, full-bodied, but balanced, with dark fruits, herbs and minerals serving up a multi-layered crescendo on the finish. Not surprisingly, this wine will easily age for more than two decades, but don't wait that long.

Blend: 61% Syrah, 39% Merlot
Fruit Sources: 100% Hudson Vineyard, Carneros
Elevage: Aged 22 months in French oak barrels, 55% new
Production: 109 cases