2000 Arietta Variation One
(72% merlot and 28% syrah) Deep red-ruby. Wilder, more animal aromas of black fruits, dark cherry, smoke, leather, licorice and game. Wonderfully sweet and stuffed with material; distinctly softer and fatter than the H Block bottling. Complex flavors of currant, plum, leather, licorice and minerals. Perhaps even longer on the finish than the H Block though not as fine, finishing with substantial dusty tannins. "A wilder, crazier, growling kind of a wine," admits winemaker John Kongsgaard.
--International Wine Cellar
The 2000 Variation One comes from the Hudson Ranch, and, like the Arietta cuvée, is aged in 100% new oak (none of these wines could be called "oaky"). Its dense purple color is accompanied by sweet aromas of new saddle leather and roasted meats. Although monolithic, it is medium to full-bodied and intense. Given my confidence in Kongsgaard's winemaking, it will undoubtedly reveal more "music" with 3-4 years of bottle age. A blend of 72% Merlot and 28% Syrah, it should be at its finest between 2007-2016.
--The Wine Advocate
|winery notes: The first vintage for this revolutionary blend of Merlot (70%) and Syrah (30%). Winemaker John Kongsgaard experimented with blending Merlot with Syrah beginning in the 1996 vintage, and liked the complexity gained by adding the wild, leathery, gamy, and floral qualities of Syrah to the luscious, more fruit-driven flavors of Merlot. Arietta Variation One has been a great success, and tasters have noted that the somewhat richer and grainier tannins of the Syrah make this wine particularly good with grilled meats and game. Bottle aging is needed to subdue the tannins provided by the Syrah. This has now happened to the 2000 Variation One, and the wine is well harmonized, approachable, and most appealing. Drink with aeration prior to serving, or await several years' further evolution. (500 cases)
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