Total Wine & More, $15.99
Aaron: Artesa continues to win points on our blog. This Chard features oak, oak, and more oak with olive leaves and green olives. It was pretty full and slightly bitter at first but DON’T get discouraged – after opening up it’s magnificent with a bold richness hidden beneath a long lasting flavor. This is super smooth and creamy, leaving you wanting more. For a reasonably priced bottle I’d keep one or two on hand. 92 points
Teri: Artesa has been one of my favorite wineries since our first visit to their vineyards about 3 years ago. Aside from a beautiful tasting room atop a hill overlooking beautiful views of their vineyards, a multitude of the wines they craft match the elegance in flavor and beauty. Although this Chardonnay is one of their larger produced products, it remains full, flavorful, and refreshing. Metallic almond and green apple scents on the nose open to beautiful flavors of white peach, orange blossom and vanilla with just a hint of lemon on the finish. Slow legs are left on the glass after a swirl indicating its full flavor and long finish. You can find this bottle at most retailers who have an expansive wine selection and I highly recommend trying it at some point in your life. 90 points
Artesa Website, $20
Total Wine & More, $15.99
Aaron: There was a light smell of lemon cake on this chard which complemented the medium body. The flavors were decent but had a slight tang which I didn’t like. The 2010 vintage which I had tried on my own was incredible and one of my favorite whites so this was very disappointing for me. Some buttery flavors made this pleasant enough but Artesa’s 2011 wines left me wanting more (we did a tasting there too; fortunately the Artesa winery itself is epic so I didn’t mind as much). 87 points
Teri: First off, if you ever have the chance to visit Artsa please do so. They have a beautiful location for their headquarters and tasting room in the Carneros region of Napa and the views are stunning! This bottle was light on both smell and taste, and carries strong flavors of lemon and an aftertaste of oak. Just a slight hint of butter but does not lean too far toward being labeled as buttery or crisp. This wine was easy to drink but I have had much better from Artesa. Perhaps this year was not their best crop. 87 points
This bottle was bought in Napa and saved as a celebratory wine for Teri completing her Master’s degree! Price…well…too much to mention.
Artesa is known for their award winning Pinots and this bottle (limited production, only 250 cases) has taken double gold at international fine wine competitions.
Aaron: The nose on this pinot opened with bold and vibrant smells of berries and bark, followed by a slight bitterness. The aggressive smell was followed by a thick flavor with smooth tannins. Mild fruits highlighted the fullness, underscoring black currant and raspberries. I specifically did not notice any blackberries but still found the flavor to be very pleasant. Unlike some wines, this was not “too easy” to drink which allowed for full enjoyment and savoring of the vintage. The aftertaste was great and most important, the flavor lingered for the perfect length of time. 93 points
Teri: The bottle was delightful when we tried it in Napa and just as good when we opened it for our celebration. The smell is light but fruity with heavy cherry and strawberry. The wine overall is very full bodied for a pinot with extremely smooth tannins and very nice legs that linger down the glass. I taste strong flavors of strawberry, current, cherry, and a hit of oak on the finish. Consistent flavor because the grapes come from the same block of the vineyard. Expensive but worth every cent. 94 points
Trader Joes, $12.99
Aaron: While not normally a pinot fan and admittedly skeptical of a “Trader Joe’s” brand bottle, I was surprisingly impressed with this smooth red. The nose was light as expected, consisting mostly of berries and some oak. The value of this bottle is truly in the rich, fruity flavor. The medium body featured no spice and was velvety and enjoyable. The soft, buttery finish was a perfect complement and made for a great bottle. Given the price, I’d definitely try this again and use it in a blind tasting to “trick a snob”. 92 Points
Teri: Once again, Trader Joe’s does it right…making a spectacular Pinot Noir with grapes from the highly acclaimed Carneros region of the Napa Valley. This bottle has a complex and elegant taste with fruit forward nodes of cherry and blackberry. The perfect tannins and nice medium legs rounds out this bottle as a great buy! 93 points