ARNOT ROBERTS

SONOMA COUNTY - USA

Sustainable

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“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.

 

Arnot-Roberts Vare Vineyard Ribolla Gialla 2019

95 points, Antonio Galloni - ”The 2019 Ribolla Gialla Vare is fabulous. Rich, ample and layered, the 2019 possesses tremendous depth and textural resonance. All of the phenolic intensity of Ribolla comes through loud and clear. Dried pear, chamomile, spice and almond are some of the many aromas and flavors that build in the glass. The 2019 is fabulous. In fact, the 2019 is the finest vintage of the Arnot-Roberts Ribolla I have tasted.”

Arnot-Roberts Clary Ranch Sonoma Coast Syrah 2019

95 points, James Suckling - ”Ground spice and fresh red and purple flowers mix with fennel seeds, brambleberries and a hint of smoke. Medium-bodied with nuanced depth and effortless expression of dark fruit and spice. Slightly nutty, chestnut notes. Earnest and charming. Drink or hold.”

Arnot-Roberts Que Vineyard Sonoma Coast Syrah 2019

97 points, James Suckling - ”Such an inviting, peppered nose of black peppercorn, hot paprika and turmeric with notes of blackberries, black cherries and blackcurrants in the background. Medium-to full-bodied, this immediately pulls you in and does not let go. So much depth and flavour with concentration and consistent intensity. Sleek. There is such fine precision here that allows for nuance and delicacy in the floral and mineral notes, adding layers and layers of compelling complexity. One of the best examples of what syrah is capable of on the Sonoma Coast. Lovely now, but best after 2024.”

Arnot-Roberts Montecillo Vineyard Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

96 points, Antonio Galloni - ”The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Montecillo Vineyard is a wine of notable breadth and power. Soil, scorched earth, smoke, tobacco, liquorice and incense infuse this virile Sonoma Cabernet with tremendous intensity. Here, too, readers have to be patient as the Montecillo is an old-school, classically built Cabernet that absolutely demands cellaring.

Arnot-Roberts Fellom Ranch Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

95 points, James Suckling - ”Blackberry, black cherry and baking spice on the nose. Full-bodied with firm, grippy tannins. Dried herbs and spice blend with a bit of cedar and pine. Earthy and savory, but still full of fruit. Well balanced with very good intensity. This will do well with some age. Best after 2026.”