California Cabernet has long been synonymous with full-bodied, overly opulent wine that appeals to a very specific style preference – which to be honest, isn’t necessarily my thing. However, unbeknownst to many, a small band of West Coast winemakers are vinifying the grape in a restrained, thought-provoking way that has totally flipped my perception of the grape on its head.
Fresh off of a trip to Napa and Sonoma, I couldn’t be more excited to share the wines of Arnot-Roberts and Cathy Corison, with specific attention to their world-class Cabernets. The former partnership is made up of Ducan Arnot Meyer and Nathan Lee Roberts, two of California’s most dynamic winemakers. After founding their eponymous project back in 2001, the two slowly but surely began taking ground across the North Coast, sourcing responsibly-farmed grapes from some of the most iconic vineyard sites in California.
Their Santa Cruz Cab hails from Fellom Ranch Vineyard, which is planted to old, cane-pruned vines at soaring altitudes of 2,200 feet. Here, low-nutrient soils give way to low yields of thick-skinned grapes, which the duo vinifies into a wildly aromatic and deeply concentrated wine. Elsewhere across the North Coast, the duo also crafts a world-class Cabernet from Montecillo Vineyard in Sonoma County, which dates abc to 1969. These old vines create the backbone to this sophisticated, ripe-yet-restrained wine that’s ideal for drinking now or later. For an unforgettable side-by-side, pop these two together and let the magic unfold.
Then, there’s Cathy Corison, an absolute legend in the California winemaking scene. Her ageworthy Cabernets speak of the distinct places from which they come. After working for many of the region’s big names, Cathy produced her very first vintage back in 1987. Today, she vinifies her wines with the same mentality as day one: focus on elegance, low alcohol levels (under 14%), and a priority for farming above all.
As someone who doesn’t generally reach for California Cabernet first, I can assure you that these three wines were some of the highlights of my trip – and I tasted a lot of wine. Consider these for your upcoming holiday gifts, and don’t forget to treat yourself, too.
Below you can find our collection of Cabernet Sauvignon from Arnot-Roberts & Cathy Corison but click here for all wines from Arnot-Roberts.
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