One of the most important aspects of making Pinot Noir is knowing when to press off the skins following fermentation. My attitude is to live by our senses, not by chemistry. I'm not trying to hit a number; I'm trying to hit a certain flavor and tannin profile. In addition to its base of raspberry/cherry fruit, this wine has that beguiling rose petal scent which is the signature of Carneros Pinot
The natural acidity gives it vibrancy and nerve, making it an excellent partner for a wide variety of foods.
Artesa Vineyards and Winery
Artesa's architecturally-acclaimed facility opened as Codorniu Napa in 1991, dedicated solely to méthode champenoise sparkling wine production. But in 1997, with the arrival of a world-class winemaker and a $10 million conversion, the winery shifted focus dramatically. Artesa was born with the inaugural release of ultra-premium still wines in September 1999.
Artesa (ahr TESS uh) means "craftsman" and connotes "handcrafted" in Catalan, language of Barcelona and their owner, Codorníu, one of the world's largest and oldest wineries. The Codorníu Group actually consists of six spectacular wineries whose wines are enjoyed daily in over 100 countries around the globe. So, while Artesa is a relative newcomer to Napa, their heritage is rich. They share five centuries of history with 15 generations of a remarkable winemaking family.
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Technically a part of Napa Valley, the Carneros region straddles both Sonoma & Napa counties. It's the Napa region closest to the San Francisco peninsula and the San Pablo Bay, which is instrumental in controlling the climate of the area. The winds from the San Pablo bay create a cool weather pattern ideal for growing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Carneros are delicate, yet complex, with firm structure and acidity. And while the pair are the most popular varieties of the region, some winemakers have branched out, particularly with Syrah. The cool climate Syrah of Carneros is well structured and stylistically similar to Syrah from the Northern Rhone, though often fuller-bodied.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.