2019 Arnot-Roberts, Trousseau, North Coast, California.
Just when you thought this wine couldn’t get better, especially after the pretty 2018 version, the guys at Arnot-Roberts step it up again with their translucent and wonderfully pale North Coast Trousseau, it delivers tangy fresh details, a light and enchanting floral nose and layers of of minerally sour cherries, strawberry, wild plum and cranberry fruits accented by snappy herbs, cinnamon and red spices, wilted roses and orange peel. This lighter red loves a slight chill, which enhances the purity and true nature of this rare Jura varietal that these guys at Arnot-Roberts have excelled with and who have made it their own here in California. This version comes off three distinct sites, two on the Sonoma Coast’s marine sedimentary soils and one in Lake County on volcanic soils, all of which, as well as the natural whole cluster winemaking, adds to the complexity and personality of this tasty wine. The Trousseau grape remains a bit of a mystery in its origins and is thought to have a distant relationship to Petit Verdot, but has been in the remote and high elevation region of France’s Jura for longer than anywhere else that we currently know of, where it is the top red grape and famous in the wines of Tissot, Ganevat (Pein Sud), Labet and Jacques Puffeney to name a few of my favorites. Trousseau is also often blended with Gamay, Poulsard, another rare Jura (pale colored) varietal, and Pinot Noir as well, both in its native home in the Jura as well as here in California, with Jolie-Laide doing a stellar blended version of the Jura grapes. It is also worth mentioning that Trousseau is sometimes a component in Crémant de Jura sparkling wines, highlighting the grape’s flexibility and its importance. In California, largely with the success of Arnot-Roberts, you are seeing more quality Trousseau, like those of Whitcraft, Stolpman’s Combe, Sandlands and Pax, all worth chasing down.
The Arnot-Roberts label, founded in Healdsburg in 2001 by Duncan (Arnot) Meyers and Nathan Roberts, two Napa Valley boys, has, as I have said in prior reviews, helped elevate many unique varietals including Trousseau, like in this post modern classic, Gruner Veltliner, soured from Richard Alfaro’s estate vineyard in Corralitos (Santa Cruz Mountains) and Touriga Nacional, from the Luchsinger Vineyard in Lake County, which they make one of the state’s best Rosé wines out of, in California. The Arnot-Roberts North Coast Appellation Trousseau, as revealed by the winery, is sourced from the three distinct vineyards; the mentioned Luchsinger, Bohan Ranch and Bartolomei, all of which have distinct soils and climate influences in these sites that results in a wine that shows their singular personalities. Duncan and Nathan harvest and ferment the each vineyard separately with whole-cluster and native yeasts, without de-stemming the grapes you can taste the stemmy crunch and punchiness, that adds to the thrill here. After the different lots of Trousseau are through primary fermentation these are gentle pressed and racked to barrel, they then aged separately in a mix of neutral (old)French oak barrels and stainless steel. I’ve reviewed and followed this wine since the 2011 vintage, often tasting it with Duncan at trade tastings and this one is without question my favorites in their lineup, and I was told this ’19 was good so I had high expectations, which were easily met, this is delicious stuff again, one that I’m glad I stocked up on, along with their Chards, which have also made a real step up in 2018 and 2019 too, especially the Trout Gulch, sourced from Richard Alfaro in the south Santa Cruz Mountains! It is a good time to get on the Arnot-Roberts list as they are about to put out their new release offer, that includes the Touriga Nacional based Rosé, which I try not to miss.
($35 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive