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Tasting Notes


Kongsgaard and his partner, Fritz Hatten (whom readers may know from his association with Christie's auction house), produce the wine called Arietta. In 1997, production was about 450 cases. Beethoven was blaring from speakers situated throughout the winery as I tasted this wine. Kongsgaard says the Arietta may have a Beethoven label, but it is Wagnerian in style. A blend of 85% Cabernet Franc and 15% Merlot. Aromatic, with scents of black currants, cherries, flowers, leather, and spice, the stunningly rich, full-bodied Arietta displays both power and elegance. Its sweet tannin, finesse, and suppleness argue for near-term consumption, but it possesses the length and inner depth to last for 15 or more years. Everything is sold via a mailing list.

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Arietta brand image

The Winery


Arietta, an ultra-premium Napa winery specializing in limited production Bordeaux-style blends, is owned by wine specialist and auctioneer Fritz Hatton and his wife Caren. One of America’s most celebrated winemakers, Andy Erickson, crafts the Arietta wines from carefully chosen blocks in the cooler climates of Napa Valley. The Arietta wine portfolio currently consists of four red wines—H Block Hudson, Variation One, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Quartet—and one white wine, On The White Keys.

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