Bright, light yellow color; honey, nectarine on the nose; medium-plus with peach, lemon, green apple on the palate. Sleek, dry, medium acidity (3.57 pH), admirably restrained oak and malo butteriness still delivers some oak smoke; really smooth, drinkable, elegant pour.
This chard touches a lot of bases while not going over the top in any category. A wisp of ginger on the finish and some honey and vanilla gives it complexity to justify the price. There is a non-reserve version of this label for about half the price; this effort is better fit for those who want a sophisticated, offend-no-one chard with admirable nuances.
The winery is an international story. In the 1980s, the Spanish winemaking family Codorníu Raventós began buying land in the Carneros region of Napa Valley. At first they produced sparkling wine in 1991, then shifted to still wines. The family named the winery “Artesa”—Catalan for “handcrafted”—in 1997. Today, it is leading Carneros maker of artisan wines using chardonnay, pinot noir, and cabernet sauvignon. Codorníu Raventós remains family owned and operates wineries in Spain and Argentina, in addition to the California estate that produces this solid effort.
In addition to making artisan wine, Codorníu Raventós supports artists. A century ago, the Raventós family commissioned a renowned architect to design and build Codorníu Cellars in Spain. Today, that effort is a Spanish national artistic and historical monument. The Napa winery has an artist in residence—Gordon Huether—who creates large-scale glass and sculpture installations around the U.S. He regularly introduces new work in glass, metal, and canvas to keep the winery and tasting room fresh and exciting. Huether comments: “Creating art for exhibit at Artesa over the years has been an opportunity to experiment and explore my many diverse creative interests. The poetic balance of the beautifully crafted wine, extraordinary architecture and fine art truly makes Artesa an exceptional experience that I’m delighted to be a part of.”
My followers know I think winemaking is an art form. Having a resident artist seems perfectly logical to me. $35-40
Atresa Winery website
Second photo: Gordon Huether art at the winery.
Third photo: More Gordon Huether at the winery.