Artesa operates an iconic winery in Carneros (photo at right), one which is well worth a visit if you’re in the area. Recently the winery released its slate of wines for 2012. Three of these, representing the primary varietals of the area, are reviewed below.
2011 Artesa Chardonnay Carneros - A bit over-oaked. Fruit plays second fiddle to buttery wood character in this one, giving it a bit of roasted marshmallow character — chewy, with no acid to speak of. B- / $20
2009 Artesa Pinot Noir Napa Valley Estate Reserve – A little thin. Cherry character is modest and backed with a bit of mushroom and wet earth. The finish plays more to the terroir than the fruit. Easy enough for drinking with dinner, though. B- / $40
2009 Artesa Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Artisan Series – Solid Cab, the best expression in this lot. Easy fruit, modest tannin, and decent acid to back it up. Cherry is on the forefront, and secondary character includes a touch of brewed tea and leather, but for young Cabernet this is remarkably fruit-forward. B+ / $46