The 2007 Arsene shows complex and exotic aromas of blackberry-pie, anise, sandalwood and blueberry fruit-roll. Nuances of vanilla and toasted oak add depth to the bouquet. Rich and muscular on the palate, the wine strikes a fine balance between its sweetness and its firm tannin structure.
The Fair Play AVA (American Viticulture Area) in El Dorado County is located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains south of the gold rush town of Placerville, between 2000 and 3000 feet in elevation. In addition to boasting the highest elevation of all viticulture appellations in America, Fair Play is home to excellent soils (decomposed granite), a multitude of exposures and stunning vistas. The area is best known for producing potent and balanced Rhone varieties, like Syrah, Grenache, Viognier and Petite Sirah. With this in mind, we went looking for the perfect Petite Sirah vines for our Salon Arsene program. We found perfection at 2400 feet in a little Fair Play property with exceedingly well-drained soils, slight North-West exposure and vertically trained vines.
Our 2007 Arsene is a port-style wine, made from grapes harvested at full ripeness, not from late-harvested grapes. The distinction is important, and evident in the fresh fruit aromas and great acid structure. We co-fermented the Petite Sirah with a small amount of Viognier and fortified the wine with brandy at a sugar level consistent with that of a traditional Port. The wine was then aged in barrel for 27 months with about 20% new French oak.