Arietta Red Wine Quartet 2018
Sometimes the most normal, drama-free vintages produce the most compelling wines. Such is the case with 2018, which from the beginning was a fairly textbook growing season. Vineyards thrived, with the adequate soil moisture, consistent sunshine, and a late summer which stretched well into September. Yields were generous, but given the nearly ideal season, so were the resulting wines. From harvest, through fermentation, and as the wines were going to barrel, it was clear we were witness to something special. Our periodic tastings of the wines from barrel were pure pleasure, and blending the final wines was more hedonistic than it was academic.
Winemaker Andy Erickson notes:
With all four of our Bordeaux varieties performing at virtuoso level, the 2018 Arietta Quartet is an ode to joy. The wine is almost flirtatious from the glass, with alluring aromatics and a deep but vivid color profile. Fresh raspberries, cocoa, and hazelnut are some of the first descriptors that come to mind when the wine is poured. As it opens, notes of baked blueberry pie, toasted almond, and smores on the campfire bring a smile. On the palate, the texture is tightly woven and smooth, even with the grand intensity of the fruit that penetrates the palate. This is a layered, serious offering, with a solid framework, a sound foundation, but with a soft, playful shape reminiscent of a Frank Gehry design. The defining feature of this blend is undoubtedly the purity and core strength of the fruit—red raspberry, wild strawberry, and preserved cherry. It is the power of this fruit that holds together the myriad layers of savory and spice—vanilla bean, nutmeg, sandalwood, flint, and juniper berries, just to name a few.
While this wine was exceedingly enjoyable directly from the bottle, without decanting, it will certainly benefit from aging in bottle, which will only heighten the intensity and help to meld together the many components that went into its formation.
Blend: 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Cabernet Franc, 24% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot
Fruit Sources: 51% Coombsville, 48% Carneros, 1% Pope Valley
Elevage: 20 months in French oak barrels, 30% new
Production: 1486 cases