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Bold, but impeccably balanced the 2000 Artesa Carneros Chardonnay is a statement of excellence in a glass. A golden hue, which is deftly tinged with a glint of green, sets the tone for the goodness to follow. A tantalizing array of aromas waft from the glass: tropical fruit, apple citrus, and a light spicy oak underpinning that emanates from barrel-fermentation and aging sur lie caress the nose. Complex, satisfying flavors that recall peach, pear, and the dry, satisfying distillation of Ambrosia round out the palate profile of the 2000 Artesa Carneros Chardonnay. Big, but never out of synch, this Chardonnay is a veritable pleasure to drink. We suggest serving the Artesa Chardonnay either moderately chilled or at cool room temperature; each has its own merits.
The 2000 Artesa Carneros Chardonnay is one California Chardonnay that tastes equally well with food as it does on its own, and that says a lot. Most premium California Chardonnays seem built to shock and awe rather than ingratiate. Upon first sip, most can elicit plenty of flavor and interest, but by the time you come to the end of the glass, the blitzkrieg of power and oak have fatigued the palate. Not so with the Artesa, which begs for a second, and even a third seductive glass without a prop. Nevertheless, food is enhanced by this statuesque Chardonnay. We suggest flavorful fish dishes, such as Sea Bass, prepared with a red pepper beurre blanc and accompanied by creamy tarragon infused polenta. Grilled Shrimp, served in a roasted red pepper and thyme sauce over Asparagus Risotto, makes for another fine accompaniment to the Artesa. A Honey Smoked Pork Chop or a flavorful Peasant Chicken and Pasta provide other comely partners. In addition, don't pass up the opportunity to try this charming Carneros offering with a host of cheese based dishes, especially Cheese and Leek Pies, a creamy Pasta Primavera or even Fondue. However, regardless of what you decide to serve or not serve with the 2000 Artesa Carneros Chardonnay, we are confident of your enjoyment. Salut!
Artesa is perhaps the most imaginative and striking of all Napa Valley wineries, rivaling and even surpassing the likes of Opus One and Dominus. Resplendent with a sculpture studded visitor center and a new futuristic fountain, everything about this young winery exudes panache and style, including the bevy of opulent, individualistic wines that flow from its exquisite vineyards. Artesa means 'craftsman' in Catalan, the language of Barcelona and the winery's owners, the Raventos family. As the name implies, all of this world-class winery's offerings are handcrafted. Born in 1991 to great fanfare, Artesa has undergone several makeovers in order to specialize in the production of small lots of exquisite wines from single vineyards. Established originally to make only premium sparkling wines, Artesa has adroitly switched its focus to include a range of premium still wines from California's finest varietals. Since 1997 millions of dollars have been spent on a 'winemakers wish list,' which has raised the bar at this outstanding property, not only for its still varietal offerings but also for the estate's traditional methode champenoise sparkling wines, too. Today, the winery's most notable offerings include a stunning Carneros Chardonnay, an equally tantalizing Pinot Noir from the same appellation, and a rich, elegant Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, in addition to several excellent champagne style sparkling wine. In total, Artesa comprises 352 acres in Carneros that are devoted mostly to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir; 409 acres in northern Alexander Valley, which are dedicated equally to the Bordeaux varietals and Tempranillo; and a new 300 acre Sonoma Coast property that will produce Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Spain's most important white varietal - Albarino. In order to produce both top-notch sparkling wines and still premium varietals that occupy the top echelon of Napa Valley offerings, Artesa employs a dynamic duo of head winemakers, which includes Todd Graf for sparkling wines and Don Van Staaveren for still wines. Since coming to Artesa, both winemakers have concentrated on achieving superstar status for the estate's wines. Todd Graff was the associate winemaker at Shramsberg, California's most notable sparkling wine producer before arriving at Artesa, while Van Staaveren came to Artesa after 20 years experience at Chateau St. Jean, where he collected an unprecedented number of awards and critical accolades. Under both men's direction, Artesa has unequivocally raised the quality bar. In Van Staaveren's case, he left Chateau St. Jean at the top of his game as Head Winemaker for one of the nation's most successful wineries. He had not only established Chateau St. Jean as one of California's finest producers of Chardonnay, he was universally applauded for restoring fine red wines to that winery. Under his tutelage Cinq Cepages became the number one rated red wine in America, and the month he joined Artesa, five of Don's wines were rated among the Wine Spectator's Top 100 of 1996'. Furthermore, Don was duly honored in 1999 with the Spectator's 'Wine of the Year. In addition to Artesa, the Raventos family also owns Codorniu, Spain's first and foremost producer of Cava; Bodegas Bilbainas, an historic property in the heart of Haro in La Rioja Alta; Septima, a stunning new winery in the famed Agrelo district of the province of Mendoza in Argentina, and several other prime Spanish properties. All are renowned for their quality and individual styling.
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