Artesa Winery has three different classifications of wine, the classic, reserve, and limited release tiers. The Classic Tier wines offer quality and value, an entry level wine. Blended to accentuate the winery’s signature style, they are a limited production, made from grapes grown outside of the estate, from some of the best vineyards in Napa and Sonoma counties. The Estate Reserve and Limited Release Tiers are the crème de la crème, crafted as distinctive, age-worthy wines, available only in small lots. In addition to Artesa’s signature Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines, an expansive list of varietals flesh out the symphony, Sauvignon Blanc to Albariño, Cabernet Franc to Tempranillo.
The 2012 Artesa Carneros Chardonnay, a classic tier wine, is delightful, with lemon and white flower aromatics, good acidity, and citrus and stone fruit flavors, a hint of butter from the malolactic fermentation, a tingle of minerality, and lightly framed by oak, it glides across the palate like crushed velvet, delicious to the last drop, a good value for the $20 retail price. The 2012 Artesa Estate Reserve Napa Valley Chardonnay, on the other hand, is more concentrated and intense. It’s a rich wine, with a big body, smooth and round with a leesy character, citrus and apricot fruit, and floral aromas, a more distinct vein of minerality, toasty oak, and a long finish. Made from the best Chardonnay fruit on the Estate, and retailing under $40, it’s a worthy bottle to grace your dinner table.
The 2012 Artesa Carneros Pinot Noir, another classic tier wine, is a medium bodied wine, with strawberry and cherry fruit, a hint of oak, good acidity, and a long finish, a pleasant wine that will pair with most foods. The 2012 Artesa Estate Reserve Napa Valley Pinot Noir is delicious, silky smooth, with aromas of cherry, strawberry, and raspberry, floral hints of rose petals and violets, bright acidity, light spice, well balanced in its concentrated fruit and subtle oak. Retailing for about $5 more than the classic, around $40, this wine can be drunk now and will continue to evolve for some time. This Estate Pinot is one of Mark Beringer’s favorite vintages to date.
And, finally, the 2010 Artesa Estate Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a juicy wine, with smooth tannins, black fruit (blackberry, black cherry, and plum), caramel and coconut notes from the oak aging, and a long oak-hued finish.
These wines are available through Artesa Vineyards and Winery website, their visitor’s center in Carneros, and locally at Vons, Pavillions, and Ralphs. If you join the wine club, Club Artesa, you will receive a 20% discount to the full retail price, plus complimentary tastings when you visit the tasting room. The Club has many events throughout the year, from summer barbecues, to lobster feeds, and sit down dinners.
Artesa Winery, referred to by some as the “Jewel of Carneros”, strikes a chord among fans of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Winemaker Mark Beringer passionately arranges this range of players, fine tuning the acoustics of the varietals and vintages, a prelude to a harmonious concerto of wine.