Deep gold color; baked yellow apple, lemon, citrus, white flowers on the nose; Meyer lemon, yellow apple, stone fruit, mandarine orange, nectarine on the palate.
Dry; medium body; vibrant acidity (3.2 pH). Reserved oak—60% of the juice spent time in French oak, but only 20% new barrels; remaining juice spent time in stainless steel. Half of the wine underwent malolactic fermentation. Aged on the lees for nine months with weekly stirring for added complexity. 14% ABV
Very tasty Carneros chardonnay with deft use of oak and malolactic. The oak notes are a nice complement with no effort to play a starring role. Same with the butter/malo notes. This is delightfully balanced. Softer, easier drinker than an unoaked chardonnay, but nowhere near a butter-and-wood monster.
Artesa was founded in 1991 by the Codorníu Raventós family, owners of wineries in native Spain and Argentina. The family is the oldest company in Spain with a winemaking legacy dating back to 1551 in the Penedès region near Barcelona. At first, the Carneros winery focused on sparkling wines, then turned to Napa’s classic still wines—pinot noir, chardonnay, and cabernet sauvignon. The company changed the winery’s name from Codorníu Raventós to Artesa in 1997, signaling a new focus on artisan wines. “Artesa” is Catalan word for “handcrafted.”
Ana Diogo-Draper is the winemaker. Born, raised, and educated in Portugal, including a BA in agricultural engineering from the University of Évora, she is fluent in English, Portuguese, Spanish, and French and has more than 15 harvest under her belt. Diogo-Draper became assistant winemaker in 2013 and director of winemaking in 2015. She specializes in small lot winemaking and champions responsible, sustainable land management. All Artesa estate vineyards are Green Land Certified by the Napa Valley Vintners Association; all grapes are farmed and harvested by hand. Cover crops prevent soil erosion and create a natural environment for predatory insects, reducing the need for insecticides.
The winery is an architectural treasure designed by famed Barcelona architect Domingo Triay in the early 1990s. Fountains abound and, from an elevated terrace, on clear days you can catch a glimpse of the San Francisco skyline. It is set into the highest hill of the 350-acre estate and kept naturally cool by its earthen construction. The visitor center presents original works of sculpture, painting, and mixed-media by Gordon Huether, the winery’s artist-in-residence. The winery itself and its grounds are dramatic works of art. Visit if you can.
Artesa Winery Los Carneros Chardonnay 2017 is a gem brimming with delicious, appropriatly presented flavors. Meyer lemon and excellent acidity frame the experience from initial attack through satisfying finish. This is chardonnay that can be sipped solo or with light finger food/charcuterie/apple slices. Pair with lighter fish; garden salads; Cobb salad; baked chicken—this is a bit too dainty and refined for fried chicken; boiled shrimp; oysters and other shellfish. $19-24