Arietta Hudson Vineyards Merlot 2016
The 2016 Arietta Merlot, as is true with most vintages, is 100% Merlot. The grapes come from the oldest vines planted on Hudson Vineyards, from a block Lee Hudson has referred to as the "Merlot Cathedral." The vines indeed are statuesque, deeply rooted, and able to ripen the fruit gradually and fully. The wine from 2016 showcases the strength of this great terroir, presenting the full spectrum of Merlot character. Notes of blue and black fruits dance with aromas of baking spices, cocoa, pot de crème and graphite. On the palate the combination of fresh acidity and rounded but structured tannins is palpable. This wine is a reminder of just how impressive Merlot can be when grown on the right soils, in the cooler climes of the Napa Valley. It will be pure pleasure to taste this wine over the years as it develops in the bottle.
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Fritz Hatton is the nation's foremost wine auctioneer. He worked for Christie's for most of the last two decades and was in charge of Christie's U.S. wine auctions from 1995 to 1998. In the spring of 2002, Hatton joined the prominent retailer, Zachy's, as auctioneer and consultant to Zachy's Auctions, Inc. He serves as principal auctioneer for the Napa Valley Wine Auction and conducts numerous other charity wine auctions across the U.S. Hatton is responsible for the sales and distribution of the Arietta and Kongsgaard wines and shares the marketing duties with Kongsgaard.
The partners came together through their love of music. Fritz is a serious amateur pianist and singer, and the Kongsgaards present a ten concert classical music series in Napa. Their friendship in music is reflected in the Arietta wine label: Beethoven's manuscript of the sublime Arietta movement of his last piano sonata, Opus 111.
Known for elegant wines that combine power and finesse, Carneros is set in the rolling hills that straddle the southernmost parts of both Sonoma and Napa counties. The cooling winds from the abutting San Pablo Bay, combined with lots of midday California sunshine, create an ideal environment for producing wines with a perfect balance of crisp acidity and well-ripened fruit.
This cooler pocket of California lends itself to growing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah. Carneros is an important source of sparkling wines made in the style of Champagne as well.
With generous fruit and supple tannins, Merlot is made in a range of styles from everyday-drinking to world-renowned and age-worthy. Merlot is the dominant variety in the wines from Bordeaux’s Right Bank regions of St. Emilion and Pomerol, where it is often blended with Cabernet Franc to spectacular result. Merlot also frequently shines on its own, particularly in California’s Napa Valley. Somm Secret—As much as Miles derided the variety in the 2004 film, Sideways, his prized 1961 Château Cheval Blanc is actually a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.