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Arnot-Roberts Watson Ranch Napa Chardonnay 2014

Duncan Meyers and Nathan Roberts are unapologetic fans of high-acid, emphatically racy white wines but are leery of excessively sulfured whites "where anything subtle is beaten down by the SO2." When I visited their winery this spring one thing Duncan said about a particular chardonnay vineyard stood out: "you wouldn't want to live there." He was referring to the cold and windy climate that makes for a long growing season and necessitates late harvesting "at full phenolic maturity but with low Brix levels and good retention of natural acidity." Meyers and Roberts are such acid freaks that they've actually taken to roasting their own (excellent) coffee from green beans to a very light color because they find all of the commercially available coffees they've tried acid-deficient. Interestingly, their red wines, while also decidedly on the fresh side, can show real heft and fruit sweetness, but nothing that screams "New World" in any way. 

-Josh Reynolds
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

Vineyard Orientation: South

Soil: Marine deposits over limestone

Viticulture: Organic, dry farmed

Vinification: Whole cluster pressed to stainless steel for native primary fermentation at ambient temperature. No heating or cooling applied. Full malolactic.

Aging: 7 months in neutral French oak

Notes: The Watson Ranch vineyard is perched on a steep hillside overlooking the San Pablo Bay in the southernmost end of the Napa Valley. The vineyard can be seen on the top of the hill just east of the Green Island Vineyard which we sourced fruit from 2007-09. Exposed and austere, the Watson Ranch is a wind whipped site planted in 1993 on marine deposits over limestone. This soil type is extremely rare on the North Coast and is coupled with organic farming techniques, giving this parcel great potential to produce Chardonnay of singular character, structure and nuance.

Category: 2014, organically grown

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