Experience is a great teacher, but by necessity works through disillusionment. Many years ago, the Artesa Carneros Pinot Noir provoked my first “aha” moment when I realized wine could be extraordinary. But what did that scavenger of bottom-shelf, bargain bins know about wine?
Now, after years of study, hundreds of tasting notes, and sampling some of the world’s best wines would I still find this entry level Pinot extraordinary?
The warm, generous nose shows black cherry, a touch of cranberry and baking spices in the background, partly obscured by leafy top notes. Sweet cherry cola on the medium-body palate gives way to some acidic roughness on a finish nearly devoid of tannins. Very approachable, a good food wine that handled the Christmas turkey quite well, but not exceptional. Compared to other Pinots under $20 this is top shelf. Alas, it cannot hold a candle to memory—but then what can?
is this more evidence that Enlightenment disenchants the world? Perhaps that’s too weighty a topic for a humble tasting note.
Happily, Artesa’s Reserve and Limited Release wines are among the finest mid-priced wines in Napa. And no visit to Napa is complete without a visit to their lovely Carneros property. I haven’t fallen out of love with Artesa, but our relationship is more realistic.