2017 Arnot Roberts El Dorado Gamay Noir
It was the Spring of 2012 and I had just completed a mega-day of tasting the tiptop of Napa’s elite wineries, culminating in a disastrous drunken episode at Harlan.
The next day, my friend and chauffeur – Kenny from Folk Machine – decided he needed to prove to me that real wine was being made in California. None of that billionaire-juice from Napa. The first stop when we headed out? Arnot-Roberts.
You’ve heard me talk about these guys before, so I’ll keep the story short and about the wine.
Almost always their stuff is allocated and hardly hits our shelves – including these two “wackies” – a Trousseau and Gamay Noir.
The Trousseau they were already working on in 2012, but it had serious complications. First off, as far as they knew then, there was only one grower growing it. Secondly, it loves to oxidize, going from a juicy strawberry red to a brickhouse grey right before your eyes. The first 2011 batch had done just that in their 500 liter hogshead barrel and they had to throw it all away. But what a beauty this is – spicy Red Hots fruit, light and quick on the palate, ever so fresh, bringing a smile to everyone’s face. It took me years to get them to release some to Wisconsin. Usually it comes and goes in a flash. But for right now, I have a little.
They started with Gamay Noir after my first visit. From Gold Rush-era old vines up in the Sierra foothills, this is dark purply goodness that is also snappy and fresh on the palate. It’s lively, pure, as good as any Cru Beaujolais and brilliantly showcases its California roots. Again, it usually comes and goes without even hitting the shelf, but I do have a little.
Here are two irresistible Schatzi babies, perfect for a warm fall afternoon, come rain or come shine!