OK, so you know I moved to Charlottesville some time ago (almost a year) and I haven’t been posting much. I’m not getting to as many new places as I might like, but to be totally honest, I am also very loyal to a handful of truly awesome Northern Virginia wineries too. And one of them really is Arterra.
This was one I was waiting for. The 2017 reds, across the board, blew my socks off (farewell amazing Malbec, you are ever so missed……. and the debut of the incredible Crooked Run!). 2018 of course was the drenched harvest year, and Arterra still pulled off some good red wine then. 2019 was the brutally hot year, which produced some super-high alcohol wines that tasted almost sweet or port-like.
2020 was a cooler year, and produced some really great white wine at Arterra. And honestly the reds are also quite stunning.
Jason warned me that he was experimenting with Norton. Norton is the grape I love to hate. I find most Norton wine tastes somewhere between liquified green pepper and pureed grass (sorry Norton fans, I gotta keep it real). I was quite anxious to check this out – would I like it????
The flight of six on the club release began with the return of Cab Franc — we missed it in 2019 – and it was worth the delay – It’s another great example of Cab Franc from Jason — light and drinkable, will be a fantastic evening sipper.
Petite Sirah came up second. I fell in love with this Petite Sirah in 2017. This one was lighter and simpler, and really didn’t get me the same way. It’s nice and drinkable, but it didn’t stand out the way previous vintages did.
Up third, our old chum Petit Verdot. Dark. Rich. Earthy. But also a jammy quality that I totally adore. This was amazing — I was a little sad to see that there is no Amphora PV this year, but Norton took that spot over, and just wait….
And here is where we interrupt your regularly scheduled Red Flight with a sample of Norton. I hesitated and sniffed. It didn’t smell anything like green pepper. Or corn husks. or cut grass. Or anything I normally associate with Norton. It was dark and jammy and reminded me of PV vaguely. Sandy says this happened due to the clay vessel allowing air in during fermentation. Whatever it was, this is the most shocking Norton I’ve had. I loved it. Now I’m not going nuts and grabbing Norton everywhere, but two came home with me.
Next on the flight was tannat, another good old friend. This was a softer tannat – similar characteristics to previous years, but mellower in character. It’s good – not as strong as I typically see in tannat from Jason, but solid. Will be interesting to watch it age…. I think I have 17, 18, 19, and now 20 cellared, as well as an 11 and 12 from another winery he worked with previously.
And Crooked Run. Crooked Run is the friend that encourages you to buy the fully loaded, souped up Corvette and get on a long stretch of highway to let loose. It’s dark, it’s edgy, and it rocks your world. This one is PV, Tannat and Petite Sirah. I love this one and try to maintain and vertical on it too. Fingers crossed…..
If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you know Husband rarely accompanies me, but he did today. It was a gorgeous day to enjoy the charcuterie board and clean air at the vineyard.
This is another great chapter in Arterra’s story. Fantastic wines. If you want to hear Jason speak more intelligently about the wines, check out his release video.
Arterra also boasts the incredible clay artwork inside, and I love checking out what Sandy is doing.
She made an amazing fountain for us this Spring as we moved into our new home.
So be certain to check out Arterra’s new reds, and their whole menu, I enjoyed a glass of rose among the trees. My bet is Cab Franc, Crooked Run, and PV (along with the small batch of Norton produced) will be gone soon. Don’t let these get away.