2011 Arietta On the White Keys
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” 2011 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 52% new French oak barrels, and the addition of Semillon from thirty year old vines in the Hyde Vineyard in Napa/Carneros.
Blend: 79% Sauvignon Blanc, 21% Semillon
Fruit sources: 80% Sonoma Mountain, 10% Carneros, 10% Carneros
Cooperage: New French oak 52%, second use French oak 16%, stainless steel 26%
Production: 400 cases
Release date: 7/9/12
Notes from winemaker Andy Erickson:
“…lemon curd, citrus zest, grapefruit. Mouthwatering acidity, but with juicy, tropical fruit flavors. Cool growing season with long hang time meant full ripeness with purity of aromatics, and generous acid. Late-harvested Semillon, affected by botrytis, contributes caramel and flint notes, as well as a broad dried fig character to the palate that adds to the length.”
2011 Arietta On the White Keys “Artists’ Reserve”
The 2011 Arietta White Wine On The White Keys Artists’ Reserve is the most intense and powerful White Keys Arietta has ever produced. Distinctive for its extended aging in barrel (a year and a half longer than the non-reserve White Keys), higher than usual percentage of Sauvignon Blanc (88% with 12% Semillon), and primary use of the Sauvignon Musque clone, the 2011 Arietta On The White Keys Artists’ Reserve is a rare California white wine that will benefit from aging in the cellar. Its exotic aromas belie the brilliant acidity and intensity of the flavors, and are predictive of a long and spectacular development in bottle. We recommend that you set aside some bottles for three to five years, and possibly more.
Blend: 88% Sauvignon Blanc, 12% Semillon
Fruit Sources: Hyde Vineyard (Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon), Rancho Chimiles (Semillon)
Cooperage: 39% new French Oak, 31% stainless steel, 30% second use oak
Production: 140 cases
Release date: 3/1/14
Notes from winemaker Andy Erickson:
“Extended aging of this special blend has added depth, texture, and an array of complex aromas over its 26 months in barrel. The original fruit, including a substantial percentage of Sauvignon Musque from the Hyde Vineyard, was bright, aromatic, and distinctly varietal. The wine was barrel fermented in a combination of stainless steel barrels, neutral barrels, and new French oak barrels. After twelve months on the lees, the blend was assembled, and the resulting assemblage was aged in once-used cooperage for an additional 14 months. The wine is broad and mouth-filling, but with a tight acidity resulting from the arrest of malolactic fermentation.
After bottling, the wine has become quite showy, with notes of exotic wood, walnut oil, and lemon verbena on the nose. This herbal-citrus intensity carries through to the palate, finishing with soft, gingerbread nutmeg essences. This wine is constructed for long cellar aging, and increasing complexity over time, so while it can be enjoyed now, patience will certainly be rewarded.”
2011 Arietta 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.
2011 Arietta Merlot
The 2011 vintage marks the first Arietta Merlot Hudson Vineyards produced since 2006. The source of the Merlot, also for the first time, is the I Block on the Hudson Ranch on the Napa side of Carneros. The I Block sits immediately below the H Block, which provides the Cabernet Franc for Arietta’s flagship wine, the H Block Hudson Vineyards. Single block, vineyard designated Merlot is a rarity in Napa, and allows lovers of the varietal to experience the Arietta Merlot Hudson Vineyards’ terroir, or particular sense of place. The Hudson Ranch has long been known for the complexity, depth, and ageworthiness of its Merlot–the Arietta Merlots from the 1998 and 1999 vintages are just now at their peak. The supple and sophisticated 2011 Arietta Merlot Hudson Vineyards, from a cool, late vintage, will reward the impatient, while improving in bottle for ten to fifteen years.
Blend: 100% Merlot
Fruit Sources: 100% Hudson I Block, Carneros (Napa) Appellation: Napa Valley
Cooperage: 80% New French Oak
Production: 250 cases
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 for nineteen months
Production: 204 cases of bottles and 25 cases of magnums
Release date: 9/1/13
2011 Arietta 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