The View from Artesa Vineyards & Winery, Napa.
ARTESA VINEYARDS & WINERY: 1345 HENRY ROAD, NAPA, CALIF.
Tucked out of the way in the Carneros Valley, on the Napa-Sonoma county line, Artesa Vineyards & Winery has become something of a family favorite.
After consuming a great deal of Artesa’s 2001 Merlot during Christmas at the familial homestead in nearby Vallejo, it was decided we should make the trip to the winery over the weekend.
Being only 15-miles from home, relatively free of the crowds associated with Napa wine tasting and possessing absolutely stunning sweeping vistas of three Bay Area counties, Artesa is ideal for a quick Napa wine trip.
The winery is almost invisible from a distance, but as you draw closer the structure reveals itself; a modern pyramid-shaped building built into the side of a verdant hilltop.
Originally founded in 1991 to produce sparkling wines, the winery switched gears in 1997 and changed its name, now focusing on still wines. This was probably a good move, given how established much of its local competition like Mumm and Domaine Chandon are in the region.
Not being much of a sparkling wine drinker, I am thankful.
We were able to taste six or seven of their wines, including some of the sparkling wine they no longer produce, but is still very dry and very good.
Consensus, evidenced by the two cases we bought, indicates that we enojyed the 2006 Alabariño the 2004 Tempranillo Reserve, and the 2005 Cabernet Franc.
While not as popular as some of its more well-known neighbors in Napa and Sonoma, this really belies the winery’s virtues, of which there are many.
It’s a good thing there was room in my suitcase for a few bottles…I gotta catch a red eye in a couple of hours…
UPDATE: Amity Wines & Spirits in New Haven apparently carries several Artesa wines. Then again, they carry a ton of stuff you can’t buy down here in Fairfield County. Or so I’ve heard. Former Advocate reporter Tim Stelloh supplied me with some Brother Thelonious ale from Amity that was – at the time – difficult to find in Stamford. Now of course, you can buy it in bottles at BevMax or by the pint at Monster B’s. I may have to make a trip up there sometime.
BELOW: Artesa’s 2005 Cabernet Franc