Saturday, November 23, 2019

Arns Melanson Vineyard Syrah 2010

Arns Melanson Vineyard Syrah 2010

For a end of week unwind evening we opened this Napa Syrah with a selection of artisan cheeses, crackers and fresh fruit. We discovered and acquired this wine during our visit to the Arn's estate on lower Howell Mountain during our Napa Wine Experience in 2013. 

Arns Estate Vineyards and Winery, is a small artisan boutique producer primarily known for their handcrafted Arns Estate Grown Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, situated on the lower tier of Howell Mountain on the eastern slope above the town of St. Helena. They also produce this Syrah that is sourced from the Melanson Vineyard down in the southeastern corner of Napa Valley above the town of Napa on Pritchard Hill.

John Arns, Rick, Linda, Bill
Readers of this blog know we love big full throttle Syrah/Shiraz which comprises a third of our cellar behind Bordeaux and Napa Cabernet. We didn't expect to find one at a Napa mountain fruit Cab producer. Moreover, ironically, we also spent an afternoon up on Pritchard Hill this Napa trip.

Arns wines are produced by John Arns and partner Sandi Belcher - John managing the viticulture and Sandi tending to the winemaking. The property has been in the Arn's family since the 1950's when it was acquired by Arn's parents as an escape from the city down in Berkeley. The elder Arns planted vines in the 1960's to sell to local wineries. John and his brother, Steve took over the property and John continued developing the vineyards.

John Arns manages the viticulture, overseeing tending the vines for several producers around Napa Valley. This  includes Syrah varietal vines that he planted at 1400 feet up on Pritchard Hill back in the early 1990's. The clones are from Joseph Phelps Vineyards. This provides fruit for this, the 7th vintage release of Arns Napa Valley Syrah. What a discovery and pleasant surprise! 

The rocky terrain of the mountain elevation with the long warm growing season results in complex, powerful but polished, forward  flavors of black berry and hints of blue fruits, at nine years of age the fruit is giving way to layers of anise and cassis with hints of smoke, mocha and clove, violets, leather and olive on a long lingering firm but silky tannin finish. This is much like a big Southern Aussie Shiraz. 

RM 92 points

Only 80 cases of this were produced. We tasted and acquired the 2008 vintage release at the winery, and then purchased this later vintage as well.