SONOMA COUNTY - USA
“For me, this is one of California’s most exciting wineries. The wines are restrained and elegant, without any of the over-ripeness that many Californian wines display. They seem to possess a beautiful textural quality, with attractive fruit but also lovely balance.”
Jamie Goode, wineanorak.com
“Winemakers always search for nuance and complexity, but Roberts and Meyers take that quest to its extreme. ‘Texture,’ ‘structure,’ ‘definition,’ and ‘control’ are words that crop up again and again in my notes. These are wines stripped to their essence, all extraneous components removed to reveal the bare brickwork beneath. It’s exhilarating…”
Adam Lechmere, The World of Fine Wine, Issue 49
Arnot-Roberts Wines is a joint project of school-hood friends, Duncan Arnot Meyers and Nathan Lee Roberts. Since founding their winery in 2001, the duo has been one of the most progressive and revolutionary producers on the California landscape. Initially their focus was just on making great Californian wines, but when the cool 2005 vintage gave them wines in a more austere, high acid style than the region was used to, Nathan and Duncan reacted completely differently to practically everyone else in California – they loved them and decided to pursue lower ripeness levels and higher acidity in all of their wines henceforth.
Their focus shifted to the best cool climate sites they could find, most of which were struggling to sell their fruit due to the obsession with high sugar levels that was pervasive at the time. Vineyards like Clary Ranch, Fellom Ranch, Luchsinger and Griffin’s Lair are lauded today, but not long ago it was only Nathan and Duncan that wanted their fruit.
Winemaking at Arnot-Roberts borrows from both the old world and new. While each wine gets its own regime, the general technique is decidedly low-tech, and includes indigenous fermentations, little or no new wood, and whole-cluster inclusion for the red wines. Intervention is minimal - just a conscientious addition of SO2 prior to bottling. Chardonnay is fermented in stainless steel and then aged in neutral wood - with a nod to the masters, Dauvissat and Raveneau. Syrah is fermented 100% whole cluster with submerged cap and pumping over - a la Gentaz and Juge, and then aged in barrels coopered by Roberts himself. His father, in fact, was a cooper and taught him the craft.
Arnot-Roberts Wines have shown that wine from California not only can shine at the table but can also express the individuality of the sites they come from. It can age and develop in complexity from post-bottle youthfulness to the glories of a fully mature and harmonious bottle and everything in-between. These are some of today's measuring sticks for those anywhere striving to produce great, interesting wine.