MCF Rare Wine

Chardonnay, Arnot-Roberts Style...



The other week, when writing about the wines of Guimaro in Galicia, I made a passing comment about how rapidly wine culture has been changing as of late, as evidenced by the fact that wines like Guimaro or Envinate or Nanclares, etc. are getting some of the highest scores in major publications.  


It’s a great thing, but seeing wines that, 15-20 years would have been considered ‘too thin’ or ‘too vegetal’, etc. etc., receive scores approaching triple digits is still something that I’m getting used to.  


Picking up on that same train of thought today, I wanted to offer some of the fabulous, tiny production and best-they’ve-ever-been wines of one of the original ‘Cool Boutique California’ wineries (I just made that category up) - Arnot Roberts. 


Duncan Arnot (it is pronounced Ar-Not, not Ar-No) and Nathan Roberts founded Arnot-Roberts in 2001, and it’s been all about ‘the vineyard’ since the beginning.  They seek out the best sites to work with, and make wines that allow those vineyards to express themselves most clearly.   


For me, their style has evolved over the years.  I’ve tasted some of their earlier Cabs in the last few years and, back then, their style was more recognizably ‘California’ - bigger, darker, more powerful, etc.  


Then they began to move into a more elegant and natural style, and began to experiment with other ‘non-traditional’ varieties like Trousseau and Ribolla.  Their wines quickly developed a reputation with the wine-geek crowd and, eventually, a mini cult following.  


Their ‘experimental’ wines were always met with enthusiasm, but, all along, it was their Pinots, Syrahs, Cabs and Chardonnays that were the most fiercely sought...and I’m happy to offer two of their best Chards today.  


Speaking of evolving style (and ‘best-they’ve-been’), their Chards have really found full stride, striking a perfect balance between the richer style and the more reductive style.  They’ve hit what, for me, is about as sweet a sweet spot as Cali Chard (Santa Cruz and Sta Rita Hills, in today’s case) can, perfectly blending the bright, sunny energy with the focused, mineral and saline edge that fans of the old world will love.  


The Chardonnay Trout Gulch 2019, from an organically farmed, cool site vineyard that (in their words) lies at ‘the absolute edge of ripening potential for’ Chardonnay in the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA, is the best version of this wine that I’ve had, hands down.  


It’s taut, structured and mineral, but also shows a fabulously aromatic quality to it as well, with savory, briny elements that lurk throughout.  While lovely now, this is wine for the cellar.  


The lively, high-toned and airy Chardonnay Sanford & Benedict 2019 from Sta Rita Hills is also stunningly good.  It’s bright, racy, mineral, and near-perfectly balanced, with a perfumed elegance and electricity that sends it flying at full speed.  


Both wines are made in tiny quantities and are, thus, extremely limited in availability today.  


They are certainly worth it.  


You may order by emailing or calling 212.255.8870.


Matt Franco

MCF Rare Wine, Ltd

249 West 13th Street NYC 10011