2019 Arnot-Roberts, Falanghina, Handal-Denier Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County.
Duncan Arnot Meyers and Nathan Lee Roberts’ 2019 Arnot-Roberts Falanghina is very cool and interesting white wine with a nice play between crisp detail and pleasing textural quality with a dry and savory core of golden(yellow) fruit, spices and stony elements. Arnot-Roberts, founded in Healdsburg in 2001, has helped elevate many unique varietals including Trousseau, Gruner Veltliner and Touriga Nacional in California and started working with this vineyard and the Falanghina grape in 2016, with some success as this food friendly and delicious wine shows. Falanghina, an ancient varietal, as noted by Arnot Roberts, is an ancient white grape variety that traces its roots to Campania, in Southern Italy’s coastal area not far from Naples. It is also known to have been a long time favorite, with Arnot-Roberts adding, that according to the writings of Pliny the Elder, wines made from the Falanghina grape were highly prized by the Romans. The grape’s most famous sites from the Amalfi Coast to Rome are thought to have been originally planted by Greeks, who also are believed to have brought Greco di Tufo to this same area as early as the 7th century BC. Falanghina, which thrives in warm climates and retains good acidity and likes mineral rich volcanic soils, which give the wines perfume, spice and mineral character that make them so compelling with Italian wineries like Feudi di San Gregorio, Mastroberardino, Il Favati and Marisa Cuomo all making fantastic and or classic versions. With the Handal-Denier Vineyard’s volcanic schist and Dry Creek’s consistent and warm Summers gives Arnot-Roberts Falanghina all the natural material to make a world class version and a studied example of this intriguing grape.
The 2019 Arnot-Roberts Falanghina, which feels like it has some skin contact is both pretty and filled with dry extract making for white wine with a bit of grip, this is a wine that has a real personality and presence in the glass with a bright yellowish/gold hue that will appeal to those that enjoy “orange wine” though this wine is not as severe as some, in fact this is a very elegant wine and lingers with a sense of creaminess. Arnot-Roberts, who also do a Ribolla Gialla (another rarity) from Northeastern Italy, usually do a whole-cluster pressing, use indigenous yeasts and allow close to six hours on the skins before an all stainless primary fermentation with the dry wine seeing between 8 to 10 months in neutral (well seasoned) used French oak. This 2019 is a stellar vintage that enjoyed a long cool growing season, that delivered complexity, zest acids and sharp clarity with layers of racy citrus, white flowers, quince, tangy tree picked apricot, dried rosemary, steely notes and clove spice. With food this wine rounds out with hints of caramel and its smooth mouth feel turns almost luxurious, I particularly enjoyed it with grilled prawns and I can see it being fabulous with soft cheeses as well as other fresh sea foods and white fleshy fish, like halibut and or swordfish. Most people know Arnot-Roberts for their incredible red wines, as I have noted over the years as a long time fan of their wines, but I also am greatly impressed by their whites, with this one being one of their most delightful, while their Trout Gulch Chardonnay, from Richard Alfaro’s Santa Cruz Mountains vines, continues to be one of my favorite Chards in the state. If you are lucky enough to find this organic and limited production, only 5 barrels made, white I highly recommend not passing it up!
($32 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive