Monday, October 11, 2021

Arns Napa Valley Syrah 2010

Arns Napa Valley Syrah 2010 

With Sunday night dinner of grilled tomahawk rib-eye steak on the grill, baked potatoes, haricot vert and caprese tomato salad, Linda asked for a big bold red wine. I pulled this, one of her favorites from the cellar for the occasion. 

I have written in these pages before, we have been long time fans of Arns Winery and their Napa Cabernets so we arranged a visit and private tasting with producer John Arns at the estate on lower Howell Mountain during our 2013 Napa Wine Experience.

John Arns and Sandi Belcher, both UC Davis trained enologists, developed Arns Winery after years of selling grapes to local wineries. John did the viticulture and his partner Sandi was the winemaker. It was during that visit that we discovered and acquired this single vineyard designated Syrah made with fruit sourced from the Melanson Vineyard on Pritchard Hill which I write about in an earlier blogpost.

They primarily produced Cabernets with fruit from their 10-acre vineyard on the hillside of the Eastern hills of Howell Mountain near St. Helena. While it was originally a farmstead in the late 1880's, its modern incarnation began in the late 1950's when the Arns family bought the property. 

Rick, Linda and John Arns

Arns Cabernets are especially precious now because the tiny vineyard that produced them was totally destroyed by the Glass fire that raged through Napa Valley in October 2020. By a stroke of luck before the fire Sandi and John had moved all the wine in barrels to the Fontinella Winery facility on Mount Veeder that was not affected by the fire. 

Though the Arns wine estate is gone, the Arns label will continue with Sandi Belcher purchasing specially selected grapes from prime producers. 

This wine was produced from the Melanson Vineyard on Pritchard Hill in Napa Valley. For years, John managed the vineyards and obtained some of the fruit to bottle this label.

Regrettably, this is our last bottle of this label from what originally we acquired at the winery during our visit, then reordered more from them, and then actually acquired this bottle when we picked up an entire lot on

We need to find out if more will be produced as we have not seen new releases beyond the 2013 which shows sold out on their website. We still hold a few bottles of that vintage.

This is serious juice. The 2010 vintage was aged in one year old French oak for three years. The concentrated extracted fruit is apparent as soon as you pour the dark inky purple juice into the glass.

Winemaker's notes: It is concentrated, yet elegant with full-bodied, ripe, decadent notes of cassis, licorice, herbs, black pepper and violets. It has a perfect kiss of sweet vanilla from aging in French oak and is soft and smooth on the finish.

Tonight this was mostly consistent with our earlier notes for this label although at eleven years, the fruits have fallen off ever so slightly. Dark inky purple colored, full bodied, huge aromatics explode from the bottle as soon as the cork is pulled, thick, concentrated black and blue fruits are accented by a pronounced layer of sweet spicy oak laced caramel that turns to black licorice, pepper and herbs, with smooth sinewy tannins on the lingering finish.

RM 92 points.