Arnot-Roberts Cabernet Sauvignon Bugay Vineyard Sonoma County 2010

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There is a new trend in California Cabernet – high acid, lower alcohol, less overt oak. These wines are not objectively better just because of the style. That’s one of the big misnomers of the ‘natural wine’ and ‘new California’ movements – some equate method with outcome. I understand the deontological perspective, and certainly respect it, but with wine it is misguided. There is not a single philosophical approach that produces a superior result. Wine is a plurality.

Style or Substance?

Arnot-Roberts is well known in the new California movement, making some of the most compelling and unusual wines coming out of California, such as their Trousseau and Ribolla Gialla. I still find their wines made with classic grapes to be the best: Syrah, Pinot Noir, Chard and Cabernet Sauvignon. This Bugay vineyard (1 of a couple Cab Sauv’s they make), from Sonoma County (in the Mayacamas Range), exemplifies the finessed, high acid style of wine-making that is now on-trend. Fortunately, it is also a very nice wine, though I do not think it quite lives amongst the best of California.

Finessed, High Acid Cabernet

The wine is very fruity but not classic Cali cab. Rather than black fruit and plums, you get lots of red berry fruit, high acidity, and a finessed but also very juicy wine. This will develop interesting secondary flavours with time, and I think it represents some of the best of the new school of Cabernet wine making. That said, it is not Spottswoode or Togni. But, if you like this style of wine, it’s a definite go-to.

$125 at kits wine


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