Pale ruby color; raspberry, cherry, plum on the nose; cherry, red fruits, raspberry, strawberry, spice, chip of chocolate on the palate.
Dry; silky tannins; good acidity. Spice note lingers on the medium-long finish. Light texture; light-medium body. Lean fruit contributes to the overall lightness of this effort. This struggles to make a statement, but that is not necessarily a bad thing in pinot noir—especially at this price point. There are plenty of Cali entry-level pinots that way overdo it. I would pour this any day over them. The more I sip this, the better I like it; 14.5% ABV.
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 Pinot Noir 2017 smooth, silky, delicate winner. Fresh with vibrant red fruit flavors. Easy drinker. More in style of Willamette Valley or Burgundy than entry-level Cali pinot. Good QPR (quality-price ratio). Pair with range of foods; salmon, cod, fatty fish; lighter beef dishes; beef bourguignon; veal; baked chicken or turkey; game birds; charcuterie; goat cheeses. $24-29