Arietta Variation One 2018
Variation One is a proprietary blend of Syrah and Merlot, both of which thrive on Lee and Cristina Hudson’s sprawling ranch in the southwestern reaches of Napa Valley. The two varieties sing in joyous harmony with the 2018 vintage and tend to simultaneously tame and encourage each other. The acidity and freshness of the Merlot are the perfect counterpoints to the dark, brooding character of the Syrah. The earthy, smoky complexity of the Syrah is put into focus by the purity and liveliness of the fruit-driven Merlot. Together, they create a wine of singular expression, one with great showmanship and subtle nuance. Like the other Arietta red wines, it is fermented with native yeasts, barrel-aged with minimal racking, and bottled without filtration or fining. Its uniqueness is apparent in its youth, but the real payoff comes after several years of bottle age when new layers of complexity and intensity are revealed.
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. The wines we produced from Hudson Vineyards showed the best that can come from this special place.
Blend: 61% Syrah, 39% Merlot
Fruit Sources: 100% Hudson Vineyard, Carneros
Elevage: Aged 22 months in French oak, 40% new
Production: 124 cases