Arietta Red Blend 1998 Front Label
Arietta Red Blend 1998 Front Label

Arietta Red Blend 1998

  • RP92
750ML / 0% ABV
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750ML / 0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

A blend of 60% Cabernet Franc and 40% Merlot, with all grapes coming from the Hudson Ranch (as is the case for all Arietta wines produced between the 1997 and 2002 vintages.) Of all Ariettas this wine is the most approachable for present drinking, and a great crowd pleaser. It has plenty of power, with a rich, forward, and expansive character. How did they do it in the cool vintage of 1998? Continual thinning of crop until a very late pick (end of October) gave them uniform and very ripe fruit. A number of subscribers have called, asking for more of this wine. Their inability to honor these requests was due in part to their own enthusiastic consumption.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 92
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
In partnership with auctioneer Fritz Hatten, Kongsgaard produces about 500 cases of Arietta (a 60% Cabernet Franc/40% Merlot blend representing this winery's answer to Cheval Blanc). The 1998 is a complete, complex wine that tastes like a synthesis between a top-class St. Emilion and a Napa Valley red. It possesses the complexity of a top Bordeaux allied to the ripeness and richness of California. Its dense ruby/purple color is accompanied by aromas of black fruits, leather, spice box, and flowers. Medium to full-bodied and pure, with moderate tannin in the finish, it opens with extended airing. (Blueberries became apparent after about 10 minutes.) This wine should drink well for at least 20 years.
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Arietta, California
Arietta Proprieters Caren and Fritz Hatton Winery Image
The Arietta project is owned and run by the Kongsgaard and Hatton families. John Kongsgaard, winemaker, is a fifth generation Napan, but the first in his family to make wine. Kongsgaard has grown grapes since 1975 and made wine professionally since 1979, notably for thirteen vintages at Newton and five at Luna, as well as looking after numerous clients as a viticultural and enological consultant. Since founding Arietta and Kongsgaard in 1996, he has limited wine production to that which he can make with his own hands. In 2000, Kongsgaard stopped all consulting activities, devoting himself solely to twenty-eight acres of vineyard and the resulting Arietta and Kongsgaard wines.

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.

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Carneros Wine


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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.

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, the best of these are densely hued, fragrant, full of fruit and boast a structure that begs for cellar time. Somm Secret—Blends from Bordeaux are generally earthier compared to those from the New World, which tend to be fruit-dominant.

LSB200355_1998 Item# 200355

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