Arnot-Roberts Legan Vineyard Pinot Noir 2018
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The 2018 Pinot Noir Legan Vineyard is a wine of exquisite beauty and precision. Bright red fruit, wild flowers, mint and blood orange all pulse through this taut, beautifully precise Pinot from Duncan Arnot and Nathan Roberts. All the elements are impeccably balanced throughout. Gracious and perfumed, the 2018 will drink well for a number of years. I would prefer to cellar it a bit first, although that will clearly require a bit of willpower.
Arnot-Roberts was Founded in 2001 in Healdsburg, CA by childhood friends, Duncan Arnot Meyers and Nathan Lee Roberts. The focus of this two person operation is on small lot, single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay, as well as several other varieties uncommon in Northern Californian vineyards. Sites are carefully chosen and are generally on the cooler end of the spectrum for the planted varieties. Collaboration with dedicated and passionate growers is paramount in the farming of these sites.
Duncan and Nathan grew up around winemaking in the Napa Valley. Nathan is a second generation cooper and personally builds all of the French oak barrels that are utilized in the ageing of all Arnot-Roberts wines. Over the years Duncan has worked making wine in the Napa Valley in wineries like, Caymus, Groth, Acacia, Kongsgaard.
Total production of Arnot-Roberts is around 2,000 cases per year with thirteen individual wines. Both primary and secondary fermentations are carried out utilizing native yeast. For the Syrahs whole clusters are retained during primary fermentation before being basket pressed to French oak barrels. For the Cabernets, hillside sites of intense character are chosen, small amounts of whole clusters are retained during primary fermentation and the wines are aged for two years in varying amounts of new French oak cooperage, selected and toasted to meld with the vintage at hand. White wines are whole cluster pressed and stainless steel fermented with native yeast, then aged in neutral French oak barrels.
A rugged and topographically diverse cool-climate appellation with a rich history, the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA stretches from Half Moon Bay, just south of San Francisco, to the northern border of Monterey County. Elevations range from 800 feet to upwards of 3,000 and microclimates vary substantially depending on which side of the mountains the vineyards lie; cool ocean winds and fog play an important role here. This can be a challenging region in which to grow grapes, but it is well worth the effort. Santa Cruz Mountains wines are noted for balanced acidity levels, often showing great aging potential. Wine has been made here since the 1800s, most notably from the legendary Ridge Vineyards, whose Monte Bello vineyard garners international admiration.
Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are the stars of this region, while Merlot and Zinfandel also perform quite well. Organic and sustainable vineyard practices are becoming increasingly common.
Thin-skinned, finicky and temperamental, Pinot Noir is also one of the most rewarding grapes to grow and remains a labor of love for some of the greatest vignerons in Burgundy. Fairly adaptable but highly reflective of the environment in which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate and requires low yields to achieve high quality. Outside of France, outstanding examples come from in Oregon, California and throughout specific locations in wine-producing world. Somm Secret—André Tchelistcheff, California’s most influential post-Prohibition winemaker decidedly stayed away from the grape, claiming “God made Cabernet. The Devil made Pinot Noir.”