The owners of Marché Bacchus, Jeff and Rhonda Wyatt (great folks) told me when I got there for the initial Husic tasting, that winemaker David Arthur would be coming by in his tour bus at around 1:30. As a couple friends showed up for the Husic tasting, we three had lunch, so I figured I'd be around to check out the David Arthur tasting.
They arrived and were instantly engaging, excited and happy to see everyone. After some thought and redirecting, a few of us from the tasting group helped him find a good spot to pull the RV in. It was all decked out like a rock band's tour bus with the name of the tour, with dates and city stops. "It's not Meritage, it's Meritaggio!"
We were welcomed into the RV and made comfortable. They had a dvd slideshow of the vineyard and winery on a flatscreen and immediately began chatting with everyone and introducing us to their wines. They poured their sauvignon blanc first, then their chardonnay. The sauv blanc I liked alright and really enjoyed the chardonnay. He apparently started out as a chardonnay man, but eventually came to acknowledge that the land was better suited for cab and some of his other blending grapes. He now sources the sauv blanc and chardonnay from other vineyards, but crafts them well.
We then moved on to the 2004 Meritaggio, so named because it's a bordeaux blend but rather than malbec, which David doesn't particularly like, he used sangiovese. I found it to be quite peppery, a bit overwhelmingly so, taking on an old vine grenache tone at times. We then finished, or so we thought, with the 2004 cab. This I REALLY enjoyed. Drinking very well with 5+ years age on it. When I learned he's neighbors with the Chappellet family, I understood wnhy I like the cab.
Our small group at the little dining table was actively tasting, discussing and I was taking my usual notes. We were making jokes and having a great time and David joined us often. That was all that was supposedly being tasted, but he liked us, calling is a "great group." He went into the back of the RV and brought forth the Elevation 1147. This is his top tier wine, 100% cab which he explained is very specifically selected, down to even certain rows or clusters. That wine was something special and I felt lucky to get a taste.
David Long is a genuinely good guy. He loves people and loves wine and his passion shows through, as he was actively part of the group, drinking wine with us and making time to talk with everyone that ventured on and off the RV. He was eager to share information about the history of his winery and his love for crafting wine. He at the core, is a farmer who LOVES what he does! He ordered a couple of charcuterie platters from Marché Bacchus, providing the tasters with some nibbles and continued opening bottle after bottle as more people came on. We made our way to the 2007 Merittagio and cab also. I had such a great time, talking with David and his girlfriend, that I eventually became part of the group, helping pour and serve and just talking with them on and off and others who were there tasting. It was a great afternoon and it occurred to me that I was on the bus from about 2 PM to 7:30!
He was great about signing the Elevation bottle for me and invited me to attend an after party that night for an event which escapes me now, but it was at Olives at the Bellaggio. He said at that point, they may get too tired or stuck at dinner, but regardless, I should go. On to part 3 of the blog. All in all, David Arthus wines are great and I recommend you taste them when given an opportunity. Since it's a family winery, they are only open by appointment, but when in Napa, call and make one. Go see these folks. Thanks David!
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