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2013 Arietta On the White Keys

The Arietta White Wine "On The White Keys" 2013 is about as exciting a white wine as Arietta has ever made. An unusual condition in our Sonoma Mountain Sauvignon Blanc vineyard - full ripeness countered by brilliant, high acidity - brings to the White Keys 2013 tremendous breath and tension, like music played at the extreme ends of the keyboard. Arietta’s sources of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc from the Hyde and Rancho Chimiles vineyards fill out the center of the 2013 White Keys, and relieve the tension with layers of mouth-coating flavors and a generous finish. Entirely barrel fermented in 45% new French Oak, 37% second use French Oak, and 18% stainless steel, the Arietta White Wine "On The White Keys" 2013 takes you on a thrilling ride.

Blend: 76% Sauvignon Blanc, 24% Semillon
Fruit sources: 53% Sonoma Mountain, 31% Carneros, 16% Napa
Cooperage: Barrel fermented 45% new French Oak, 37% second use French Oak, 18% stainless steel
Production: 635 cases

Notes from winemaker Andy Erickson:

"An unusually dry, but fairly mild, growing season served up some very mouthwatering white wines for Arietta in 2013. Both the Sauvignon Blanc, grown high atop Sonoma Mountain, and our Sauvignon Musque, from older plantings on Larry Hyde’s vineyard in Napa, were harvested at desired Brix levels, but with record acidity. The fruit had—and the wine retains—unmistakable notes of citrus peel, lemon drop, and key lime, both in the aromas, and upon entry. The Semillon, from some of Hyde’s oldest vines, as well as from a beautiful planting at Rancho Chimiles, in the eastern mountains of Napa Valley, provides breadth and weight to an otherwise bracing, high-energy wine. The combination is quintessential "White Keys," overflowing with all available descriptors of vibrant white wine: white flowers, orange peel, lemon zest, subtly fragrant oak, honey and vanilla bean. It excites the palate with a rush of bright fruit, then broadens and lengthens as the Semillon takes over the finish. A fine reflection of an outstanding vintage, this wine will live for a decade or more."

2012 Arietta Quartet

Northern California’s fabulous 2012 vintage was characterized by long and temperate growing season and generous crop levels. The Arietta Quartet 2012 displays all the qualities you could hope for in such a vintage: fragrance, opulence, depth, tremendous length, and above all, balance. We pulled out all the stops with the 2012 Quartet, topping off its usual sources of Coombsville and Calistoga fruit with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc used in the Arietta "big guns"—Arietta H Block 2012 and Arietta Cabernet Sauvignon 2012. The level of new French oak—35%--is moderate enough to permit, if not enthusiastically encourage, near term enjoyment.

Blend: 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Cabernet Franc, 19% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot
Cooperage: 35% New French Oak
Production: 1,350 cases
Release Date: 10/27/14

Notes from winemaker Andy Erickson:

"After several challenging, yet rewarding vintages, 2012 arrived as a gift from heaven. All four red varieties, in each of the Arietta vineyards, produced rich, aromatic fruit in abundance. It would be hard to exaggerate just how pleasing the wines from this vintage will be. The 2012 Quartet is a great example. The wine has a remarkable purity of fruit, with notes of fresh blueberries, blackberry pie, and crème de cassis, but with all the complexity we desire in Arietta. The many layers include notes of dried sage, licorice, gravel, smoke, and graphite. This wine is generous and hedonistic, yet should appeal to the Europhile as well. The nearly flawless fruit produced wines that required very little movement in the cellar, and, as always, was bottled without fining or filtration, so will pour out of the bottle with great structure and intensity. While Quartet is meant to be enjoyed immediately, this one will no doubt age for decades to come. The 2012 Quartet’s composition is 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Cabernet Franc, 18% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot."

2012 Arietta Merlot

The 2012 Arietta Merlot Hudson Vineyards reaffirms our commitment to and love for the sophistication that moderately cool climate, correct soil conditions, and superb vineyard management can bring to varietal Merlot. In the past we produced Arietta Merlot only intermittently, but after the success of the Arietta Merlot Hudson Vineyards 2011, we decided to make Hudson single block single vineyard Merlot one of Arietta’s core red wines in every vintage. Our distinguished and close friend, winegrower Lee Hudson, has entrusted us with most of the I Block of Merlot on the original part of his ranch, planted in 1986. The vines in the I Block, planted at the same time as the H Block Cabernet Franc just above it, are in a perfect state of health and maturity. The richness, layering, power, and density of the Arietta Merlot Hudson Vineyards are on full display in the 2012 vintage.

Blend: 100% Merlot Fruit Sources: 100% Hudson I Block, Carneros (Napa)
Cooperage: 21 months 45% New French Oak Appellation: Napa Valley
Production: 355 cases
Release date: 10/27/14

Notes from winemaker Andy Erickson:

"Produced from the oldest planting of grapes on Lee Hudson’s heralded vineyard in the Napa Carneros, this latest offering of Arietta Merlot is one for the ages. Certainly a classic vintage, 2012 delivered fruit with brilliant purity, structure, and a strong sense of place. This unique—one might say historic—block of Merlot shows the best that this variety has to offer in California. Well-proportioned, fresh, flavorful, dark and complex, this wine is sure to impress lovers of Pomerol, and show that California is capable of producing wines with strength, yes, but also nuance, delicacy, and multiple layers of interest. This wine should continue to open and develop over the next decade, and age gracefully for another decade or two."

2012 Arietta Cabernet Sauvignon

All twelve of Arietta’s Bordeaux varietal blocks gave us exceptional fruit in 2012. In multiple blending trials for the Arietta Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 a blend of three of Arietta’s jewel like Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard blocks—two in Coombsville and one in Calistoga—produced the most exciting results. The Arietta Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, wild yeast fermented, aged 21 months in French Oak barrels of which 70% were new.

Blend: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Cooperage: 21 months 70% New French Oak Appellation: Napa Valley, Coombsville
Production: 411 cases
Release date: 10/27/14

Notes from winemaker Andy Erickson:

"The 2012 Arietta Cabernet Sauvignon hits the nail on the head. Deep, black-toned aromas of wet gravel, ripe raspberries, and smoldering coals rise up from the glass. On the palate, a coolness, coming from the ample natural acidity, firm tannins, and the fresh fruit profile of the wine, is enticing. There is intense fruit character, layered with equally compelling notes of slate, wood mulch, cardamom, clove and exotic spices. Firm but beautifully balanced, this wine will age for twenty years or more."

2012 Arietta H Block Hudson Vineyard

The Arietta Red Wine H Block Hudson, first produced in the 1996 vintage, is Arietta’s original and flagship wine. It continues to distinguish itself from almost all other Bordeaux style blends in its focus on Cabernet Franc as the dominant varietal in the blend. Co-fermenting the brilliant, highly aromatic H Block Cabernet Franc with Merlot from the H Block’s neighbor, the Hudson I Block, adds lushness to the texture and flavor and makes the blend as seamless as possible.

Blend: 62% Cabernet Franc, 38% Merlot Fruit Sources: 100% Carneros (Napa), Hudson Ranch Age of vines: 22-25 years Appellation: Napa Valley
Cooperage: 78% new French Oak
Production: 395 cases
Release date: 10/27/13

Notes from winemaker Andy Erickson:

"Certainly among the noblest and most compelling H Block wines of the past decade, the 2012 Arietta H Block demonstrates the heights that Cabernet Franc based wines can reach in Napa Valley. Gleaned from two of the oldest plantings on Lee Hudson’s famed Carneros ranch, the H Block 2012 offers aromas of licorice, dried flowers, baking spices, and spring rain. The palate is incredibly broad and structured, with ample tannin and a notable viscosity. The wine has a balance and character all its own, and would stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the very best wines from the right bank of Bordeaux. With its core of vibrant fruit, and its tannic structure and density, this vintage of the prestigious H Block will doubtlessly age for 20+ years."

2012 Arietta Variation One

The majestic, broad-shouldered Arietta Red Wine Variation One 2012 looks as much to the Rhone as it does to Bordeaux for inspiration. In recent vintages we have allowed the Syrah to come forward in the blend and have reduced the percentage of new oak to 50%. Extraordinarily deep, rich, and long, the Arietta Variation One 2012, softened by the addition of Merlot and the reduced new oak, welcomes enjoyment now.

Blend: 70% Syrah, 30% Merlot
Fruit sources: 100% Hudson Vineyards, Carneros
Production: 230 cases
Release date: 10/27/2014

Notes from winemaker Andy Erickson:

"After denying us in 2011, Mother Nature made things right in 2012 by delivering one of the most intense, aromatic, and flavorful Syrah harvests in years from Hudson Vineyards. The 2012 Arietta Variation One is a powerhouse of a wine. Its mouthwatering, explosive entry boasts aromas of fresh-dug earth, smoke, diesel, and ripe black fruits. It exhibits all that is great about both of these varieties, especially when grown in their favorite conditions. The dark, brooding character of the Syrah is tempered by the juicy, vibrant acidity and fresh berry notes of the Merlot. The wine is aged in 50% new French oak for 20 months, rounding the tannins and providing a soft, plush texture, even for such a powerful wine. With such impressive density, this wine will age for decades, but for the brave of heart it will impress immediately."