Prior Release 2010

2010 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” 2010 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 27% new French oak barrels, and the addition of Semillon from thirty year old vines in the Hyde Vineyard in Napa/Carneros. This year for the first time Sauvignon Blanc Musque clone from Carneros was included in the final blend.

Blend: 80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Semillon
Fruit sources: 56% Sonoma Mountain, 46% Napa/Carneros
Cooperage: New French oak 27%, second use French oak 47%, stainless steel 26%
Production: 300 cases
Release date: 9/19/11

Notes from winemaker Andy Erickson:

“Another long, cool vintage, 2010delivered what is most definitely the freshest, most vibrant white wine yet produced by Arietta. Our high-elevation Sauvignon Blanc retained so much acidity, and produced wine so forwardly aromatic, that before bottling we had trouble describing the wine in any way other than one would describe the finest Sancerre. The final blend, 80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Semillon, gushes with vibrant fruit and floral aromas, from orange blossom to lemon rind and pineapple. It is at once incredibly fresh and intensely flavorful, with notes of kumquat, lemon oil, key lime and honey. While the wine was aged in nearly 30% new French Oak barrels, the fruit intensity is so great that the oak is just one small element in the blend. The 2010 On the White Keys is definitely a crowd pleaser.”

2010 Arietta Quartet

This fifth 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. 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 2010 should evolve beautifully in bottle for five to ten years.

Blend: 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot
Fruit Sources: 42% Coombsville, 29% Carneros, 29% Calistoga
Cooperage: 77% new French Oak, 23% second use French oak
Production: 800 cases
Release date: 2/1/2013

Notes from winemaker Andy Erickson:

“The 2010 Arietta Quartet is marked by substantial power and structure, which underpin the dark, concentrated, plush core of ripe fruits. The Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc seem to be driving the overall impression of the wine, with cassis, bramble and sage riding on a solid chassis of carefully extracted tannin and dense color. The framework is balanced and rounded by soft, supple flavors and textures brought by the addition of Merlot.”

2010 Arietta Cabernet Sauvignon

For the first time since the 2004 vintage, the 2010 Arietta Cabernet is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The decision not to blend in the 2010 vintage year gives testimony to the extraordinary quality and reliability of Arietta’s two-acre Cabernet Sauvignon block the heart of Coombsville. With the 2010 Arietta wines we celebrate Arietta’s fifteenth vintage, and Andy Erickson’s sixth vintage as Arietta’s winemaker.

Blend: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Fruit Sources: 100% Coombsville
Cooperage: 77% new French oak
Production: 270 cases
Release date: 3/3/2012

Notes from winemaker Andy Erickson:

“The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon from Arietta is remarkable for its seemingly incongruous – and yet delightful – density, opacity, and brightness. The growing season was particularly mild, with a slow, steady accumulation of heat, and gentle, textbook ripening of color and tannin. In Coombsville, the gravelly, volcanic soils naturally moderated the crop level, and the cool temperatures made for very balanced, dark, aromatic wines. In the end, the pure Cabernet Sauvignon we produced from our 2-acre block of Clone 337 stood alone as the best expression of the variety in this unique vintage, so in the end the wine is not a blend of varieties, as is our usual practice. The wine has near-black purple color, the hue reflecting the wine’s power and energy. The aromatics are intense and expressive, ranging from flint, earth, and chaparral, to fresh blueberries, kirsch, vanilla bean and campfire. These many layers continue to the palate, and, along with a dense, rich mid-palate, the wine is alive and fresh in terms of acidity. This wine will benefit from aging, as it is packed with potential.”

2010 Arietta Variation One

Ten years after its creation in the 2000 vintage, Arietta Red Wine Variation One continues to refresh the mind and the palate with its boldness and distinctive aromas and flavors. Its virtually unique blend of Syrah and Merlot, all grown on the Hudson Ranch in Carneros, marries two very different varietals with the aim of capturing the best of both. The “civil” nature of the Merlot tames the natural “wildness” of the Syrah by rounding its edges, cushioning and broadening the middle palate, and lengthening the finish. The 2010 Arietta Variation One stands out from its immediate predecessors in two respects: the Syrah rises from half to two-thirds of the blend, while the percentage of new oak drops from 80% to 41%. The result is a more transparent and approachable wine, with forward aromas of dried wild berries, pomegranate, candied orange peel, and hints of spice cake and campfire. The style of the Variation 2010 is reminiscent of the best traditional wines of the Northern Rhone, with food friendly acidity and the gorgeous ripe flavors of a fruit market in September. Without a doubt Arietta Variation One is the most dramatic wine in the Arietta portfolio. It is a perfect foil to l lamb, game, grilled and fatty meats in general, and, dare we say it, bacon?

Blend: 67% Syrah, 33% Merlot
Fruit sources: 100% Hudson Vineyards, Carneros
Cooperage: 41% new French oak
Production: 350 cases
Release date: 3/3/2013

Notes from winemaker Andy Erickson:

“Merlot and Syrah both excelled in 2010 at Lee Hudson’s vineyard in the southwestern-most part of Napa Valley. While the cool season posed challenges at many locales in the Valley, we were both surprised and delighted by the quality of the fruit that produced the Arietta Variation One. The coolness of the vintage is reflected in the fresh, aromatic quality of this wine, and the combination of Syrah and Merlot delivers a powerful, dark, complex wine. With a light decanting, the tannins take on a cocoa powder character, owing smoothly across the palate, and aromas and flavors of blueberry pie, vanilla bean, wet gravel, and toasty oak jump from the glass. Tasting is believing with this unique blend of 67% Syrah and 33% Merlot. It is a true terroir-driven wine, and uniquely expressive. Its density and acid backbone will allow it to age for 15 to 20 years, easily.”