2018 Arnot-Roberts, Trousseau, North Coast, California.
The 2018 Arnot-Roberts Trousseau is a gloriously pale red with a soft ruby glow in the glass and is wonderfully delicate in its fruit showing elegant layers of crushed raspberry, sour cherry, strawberry and fleshy red peach all in a light frame and accented by an earthy and savory edginess, making this version very much like a classic Jura example, along the lines of Tissot, Ganevat (Pein Sud), Labet and Jacques Puffeney’s legendary Arbois. This vintage of Trousseau from Duncan Meyers and Nathan Roberts at Arnot-Roberts is one of the most complete and complex to date and really does this grape justice, absolutely proving they can make a wine on par with the old world, where they got the inspiration, 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 favorite, though I am hearing the latest 2019 release is even better! There’s a lot more going here than first meets the eye and air really brings out the full array of flavor(s), a mineral fineness and a beautiful textural quality in a wine that shares some elements with Pinot Noir, it gives up some floral tones and hints of wild fennel, tangy herbs, truffle and even an animal or gamey note, all which are best enjoyed with matching food choices and or alpine cheeses. 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, though it is also blended with Gamay, Poulsard, another rare Jura (pale colored) varietal, and Pinot Noir, plus it is also sometimes a component in Crement de Jura sparkling wines.
Arnot-Roberts, founded in Healdsburg in 2001, has 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. Arnot-Roberts notes that the blending is done in the early spring following harvest, where to final blend is put into tank to settle, after which the wine is bottled without fining or filtration in early May. Trousseau is a thin skinned grape, with the winery adding that, this unique variety, that is heralded for its ability to make a wine that is light in color but packed with flavor, is in fact the thinnest they work with, and this wine showcases that to near perfection. I highly recommend getting on the Arnot-Roberts mailing list to get a chance at this one and as well as their amazing collection of wines, others to look for include their Trout Gulch Chardonnay, the Syrah(s), which are very Northern Rhone in style, as well as the mentioned Rosé of Touriga Nacional.
($35 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive