Fruity, Floral, and Refreshing Summer White

Today’s Story: Arnot-Roberts

Arnot-Roberts is a boutique winery established in 2001 by Duncan Arnot Meyers and Nathan Lee Roberts, two childhood friends who grew up together in Napa Valley. After college, Nathan started working with his father as a cooper of oak wine barrels while Duncan pursued winemaking throughout Napa and Sonoma counties. Arnot-Roberts began with a single barrel of wine the duo produced in their basement and over time grew through the purchase of fruit from renowned vineyards in Napa, Sonoma, El Dorado, and Amador counties as well as the Santa Cruz Mountains. When selecting vineyards, Arnot-Roberts makes sure the farmers are both “passionate and conscientious” because their goal is to produce small quantities of honest, terroir-driven single-vineyard wines which truly express their unique place. The winemaking style is a mix of Old World and New World, with use of indigenous fermentation, little or no new oak, and often whole cluster.

Arnot-Roberts is a producer I keep coming back to, as I previously reviewed the 2016 Que Syrah Vineyard, 2018 North Coast Trousseau, and 2018 Watson Ranch Chardonnay.

Today’s Wine: 2016 Vare Vineyard Ribolla Gialla

100% Ribolla Gialla; 12.2% ABV

The 2016 Vare Vineyard Ribolla Gialla is pale gold in color and transparent. The delicate and inviting aromas are of medium intensity, and the nose showcases notes of pear, lemon zest, green apple skins, white lily, beeswax, and delicate dried green herbs. Meanwhile the flavors are also of medium intensity and the palate displays notes of fresh pear, green apple, lemon peel, tangerine, white florals, dried thyme, and chalky mineral. This dry white is light- to medium-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium alcohol, and a long finish. Very refreshing and enjoyable, so I could see this becoming a staple for my summer. 6 barrels produced.

Price: $44. Though this isn’t inexpensive and there are better “values” out there, I believe this is very fairly-priced and I would certainly buy it again over and over. I think this is a very nice representation of the Ribolla Gialla variety, and the beauty and purity in this wine is quite impressive.

Young but Beautifully Linear Napa Chardonnay

Today’s Story: Arnot-Roberts

I previously wrote about Arnot-Roberts when I reviewed their 2016 Que Syrah Vineyard and 2018 North Coast Trousseau. I enjoyed both wines so much, I wanted to try a (young) Chardonnay today.

Arnot-Roberts is a boutique winery established in 2001 by Duncan Arnot Meyers and Nathan Lee Roberts, two childhood friends who grew up together in Napa Valley. After college, Nathan started working with his father as a cooper of oak wine barrels while Duncan pursued winemaking throughout Napa and Sonoma counties. Arnot-Roberts began with a single barrel of wine the duo produced in their basement and over time grew through the purchase of fruit from renowned vineyards in Napa, Sonoma, El Dorado, and Amador counties as well as the Santa Cruz Mountains. When selecting vineyards, Arnot-Roberts makes sure the farmers are both “passionate and conscientious” because their goal is to produce small quantities of honest, terroir-driven single-vineyard wines which truly express their unique place. The winemaking style is a mix of Old World and New World, with use of indigenous fermentation, little or no new oak, and often whole cluster with the reds. The Chardonnays, one of which I am reviewing today, ferment in stainless steel and age in neutral oak.

Today’s Wine: 2018 Watson Ranch Chardonnay

100% Chardonnay; 12% ABV

The 2018 Watson Ranch Chardonnay is transparent medium golden yellow in color with greenish hues. This needs 1-2 hours of air in its youth, and I drank it over the following 2 hours or so. Once opened, the nose delivers aromas of golden apple, crisp yellow pear, lemon zest, honeysuckle, jasmine, light smoke, dry crushed stone, and saline mineral. Still tighter than the nose and requiring the full bottle to put together, the palate showcases notes of lemon, ripe yellow apple, stone fruit, mild dry green herbs, white wildflower, limestone, and vibrant minerality. There’s also a delicate earthiness to the wine that I think needs more bottle age to fully reveal itself. This is medium-bodied with vibrant and mouthwatering high acidity into a well-rounded and long finish. Best with another 3-5 years in bottle, but pretty hard to resist right now. 45 barrels produced.

Price: $40. I think this is a fantastic value Chardonnay, though it won’t be the wine for a lot of people. (There’s no butter here.) The Old World winemaking and boutique mentality are palpable in this bottle, pairing off nicely with the beautiful quality of fruit and precision in the final product.

Fun, Pure, and Delicious Trousseau

Today’s Story: Arnot-Roberts

Arnot-Roberts is a boutique winery established in 2001 by Duncan Arnot Meyers and Nathan Lee Roberts, two childhood friends who grew up together in Napa Valley. I previously wrote about them when I reviewed their 2016 Que Syrah Vineyard in Boutique Syrah for the Explorer, which I felt is a wine for those looking for a new take on California Syrah. As I wrote before, Arnot-Roberts began with a single barrel of wine the duo produced in their basement and over time grew through the purchase of fruit from renowned vineyards in Napa, Sonoma, El Dorado, and Amador counties as well as the Santa Cruz Mountains. All Arnot-Roberts wines are made in small quantities with incredible attention to quality and they are crafted to showcase the terroir of each specific site or appellation.

Today’s Wine: 2018 North Coast Trousseau

100% Trousseau; 12.1% ABV

The 2018 North Coast Trousseau is captivating deep salmon in color with rose/pale ruby hues in the bowl. It is also translucent, but slightly hazy. Once this opens up, the nose emits aromas of ripe strawberry, wild raspberry, cranberry, red florals, game, dry gravel, and dried herbs. On the palate, I get notes of bing cherry, boysenberry, strawberry, red licorice, underbrush, peppery spice, clove, and stony mineral. This is light-bodied with gorgeous medium (+) acidity, medium (-) tannins, and a medium (+) length finish. 26 barrels produced.

Price: $35. I think this is a great value wine for a number of reasons, namely its quality and how fun it is to drink. This is a variety many people may not be familiar with, and I think this bottle is a great example to explore. Pair this with steak tartare, Basque-style tuna, or charcuterie and cow’s cheese.

Boutique Syrah for the Explorer

Today’s Story: Arnot-Roberts

Arnot-Roberts is a boutique winery established in 2001 by Duncan Arnot Meyers and Nathan Lee Roberts, two childhood friends who grew up together in Napa Valley. After college, Nathan started working with his father as a cooper of oak wine barrels while Duncan pursued winemaking throughout Napa and Sonoma counties. Arnot-Roberts began with a single barrel of wine the duo produced in their basement and over time grew through the purchase of fruit from renowned vineyards in Napa, Sonoma, El Dorado, and Amador counties as well as the Santa Cruz Mountains. When selecting vineyards, Arnot-Roberts makes sure the farmers are both “passionate and conscientious” because their goal is to produce small quantities of honest, terroir-driven single-vineyard wines which truly express their unique place.

Today’s Wine: 2016 Que Syrah Vineyard

100% Syrah; 12.2% ABV

The Que Syrah Vineyard, planted in 1993 at an elevation of 850 feet, is the oldest planting of Syrah on the Sonoma Coast. This organically-farmed vineyard is composed of sedimentary schist, shale, and fractured mudstone and Arnot-Roberts became the steward of the site in 2013.

The 2016 Que Syrah is mostly opaque medium purple in color heading toward fuchsia at the rim. I decanted this for 1.5 hours and drank it over the following 2 hours. The nose showcases aromas of plum, blueberry, licorice, rocky soil, black olive, green beans, ground herbs, and smoke while screaming of whole cluster fermentation. Once on the palate, this displays notes of brambleberry, black plum, cola, wild blueberry, mild sweet tobacco, crushed rock, ground green pepper, olive, and exotic spice. The wine is medium- to full-bodied with medium acidity, elegant medium tannins, and a long finish. 4 barrels produced.

Price: $70. While not the greatest California Syrah I’ve had, I would be comfortable putting this up with the greatest “natural” California Syrahs I’ve had. While not for everyone, I would suggest the explorers and Syrah lovers looking for something new give this a shot. Pair this with a good burger, herb-roasted lamb, or braised beef.