Mature and Elegant: Artesa Elements Wine Review

artesaWhen it comes to straight-up great California reds and whites, Artesa Winery in Carneros is right at the top of our hit parade. Besides being housed in an absolutely stunning building in a spectacular hilltop location, Artesa also makes kick-ass wine. (And their people treat everyone like a friend and honored guest.)

Now, they’ve reduced the price of one of our favorites. Artesa Elements Red Wine is a blend of a kitchen sink¬† of grapes from vineyards in Napa and Sonoma County. There’s Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo (Artesa also does a varietal Tempranillo), Merlot, Malbec, Garnacha, and four more. Believe it or not, it works. And the whole lot is aged 18 months in French oak.

You might have noticed two Spanish grapes in the mix (Tempranillo from Rioja and Garnacha/Grenache from Jumilla and other regions). They hark back to the winery’s parentage, the Raventos family, who owned Codorniu and came to California from Spain to make sparkling wine (which they did for a few years, then converted the winery to still wine production).

The 2006 vintage of Elements Red Wine is still available, and that probably explains the reduced price:  it was a good wine for $24.99 a bottle and a GREAT one at $17.99.

The nose offers dark berry fruit aromas with toasty oak and a hint of spice. The body is substantial without being heavy, and the tannins have softened out to a very gentle finish. You need to drink it NOW, though: this vintage probably won’t get any better.

But it’s at its prime right now, and at this price I intend to lay in enough to make it my “house wine.” But don’t take my word for it: buy a bottle and give it a try, then let me know what you think. Cheers!

Artesa Elements

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