Tasting the 2017 Quartet from bottle brings great joy. While the year may be remembered for the late season fires, and the way those events brought our community together, the vintage itself is a more typical California story. A mild spring with little precipitation made for fairly uniform and balanced crop levels. By midsummer it was apparent that the growing season would extend into October. Intense heat over Labor Day weekend, early in the ripening period, had little effect on the Arietta vineyards, except to put a pause on the fruit development for a short time. By the time the fruit began arriving at the winery, the defining character of the vintage was already discernable: lively acidity, bright aromatics, and soft tannins that would make the wines accessible right out of the gate. The fires hit only days after our fruit was “in the barn.” It is wonderful to see that, after so much care and emotion was poured into the wines during that trying time, all this positive energy is returned in the finished wines from 2017.
The aromas coming from the glass after pouring the 2017 Quartet are delicate yet exuberant. Floral notes and red fruit aromatics are fresh and focused. Notes of red cherry, rose petal, black tea and bay laurel are among the first scents noted. The color of the wine is dark black-purple with a red note around the rim. This opaque dark hue belies the bright energy and focus of the wine. On the palate, the wine has a remarkable intensity, though it is balanced and well proportioned. Red raspberry, baked cherry, vanilla bean and crushed stones are some of the impressions as the wine hits the palate. The flavors build into an intense, long finish with polished tannins and lingering red fruit flavors.
“While this wine will age for a decade or more, it is immensely appealing immediately after opening.” – Andy Erickson, Arietta winemaker