2008 Arroba Winery Edna Valley Pinot Noir

Mission Codename: Where are you @?

Operative: Agent White

Objective: Infiltrate our friends at Rex Family Wines (of Deerfield Ranch fame), whose covert sister label,Arroba is causing a stir. Their fantastic new line delivers real value without sacrificing on quality. Send Agent Red to investigate. If the wine is a great as reports indicate, secure an ample cache for our deserving Operatives.

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Arroba Winery

Wine Subject: 2008 Edna Valley @ Pinot Noir

Winemaker: Robert Rex

Backgrounder: California’s Central Coast region, and specifically Santa Barbara and San Luis Obisbo County has become one of the state’s premier wine regions, especially for Pinot Noir. The generally milder-warm climate, moderated by the coastal fog, its sandy and clay loam soil, and broad exposure results in grapes of exceptional purity.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Deep garnet with ruby tints and clear core that shows brighter streaks when held to the light. Along the edge, the color pales slightly and when swirled, fast thin and tightly spaced legs ring the glass.

Smell – Bright aromas of both fresh and tart red fruit including red raspberry, red cherry and even some cranberry surrounded by spice, earthy undertones, and vanilla toasted oak. A hint of anise also emerges as you explore the nose.

Feel – Smooth on the initial attack, this dry medium-to-full bodied wine then presents a textured tangy and spice feeling that starts at the tip of the tongue and lingers past the mid-palate. Softly textured tannins, a touch of minerality and vibrant acidity frames the bright high toned red fruit.

Taste – Rich, bright and tangy red fruit including the red raspberry, red cherry and cranberry found on the nose is framed by soft sweet and brown spice, earthy and forest undertones, toasted oak that shows a hint of vanilla.

Finish – Medium to long in length, this wine lingers cleanly on the palate with its bright and fresh fruit fading as the spice, earth and mineral notes linger on for a few moments more.

Conclusion – The 2008 Arroba Winery Edna Valley @ Pinot Noir is a really nice wine at an exceptional price point. Bright and fresh red fruit on the nose and palate, a nicely structured mouthfeel with enough acidity to make this a good food wine but also with a smooth character that makes it perfect for just enjoying over conversation. At this price, this can be your go-to everyday Pinot. Enjoy this wine tonight paired with a selection of aged cheeses.

Mission Report:


SUBJECT: Robert Rex

WINE: 2007 Arroba Merlot Super Secret Undercover Covert Burn-After-Reading Mission

WINE EDUCATION: 39 vintages, getting your hands dirty is the best way to learn

CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: I am a chemist by education and a master wine blender by trade. My passion is crafting world-class wines that are rich, full bodied, exceptionally well balanced, and delicious.

WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Start with the best fruit and finish by taste, not recipe. Great chefs don’t cook with recipes, they cook by taste, that’s how I make wine.



AGENT RED: Greetings, Robert. We are thrilled to be showing your 2008 @Arroba Pinot Noir today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.

ROBERT REX: Hey, Red. Good to be back with you, once again.

RED: Thanks for noticing. It’s from chasing elusive winemaker, like you, around! Tell me, was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?

ROBERT: More than anything, it’s all about the experience on the palate. When I was in high school I used to race home to watch Julia Child on TV. Food and wine have always fascinated me; textures, flavors, nuance and layers. In that sense, I’m really a product of my environment; if I lived in New York I’d run a restaurant and since I’m surrounded by the best wine growing region in the world, I’m a winemaker!

RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?

ROBERT: Hands down, the great Bordeaux. The whole region has such a history full body blends that have been developed by winemakers and not by textbooks. Over millenniums the craft has been handed down, with each generation working to perfect the shape of the wine. If something made the wine taste better – keep doing it, if it didn’t help, then stop. When I first started making wine I poured over books, learning everything I could about the science of wine. I’m a chemist by education, from UC Berkeley, and ultimately what I learned is that the science won’t even get you half way. You have to be able to do the blend, to taste and understand the shape of the wine.

RED: Who do you make wine for?

ROBERT: I make wine because I have passion for it, but that passion is nothing if not shared. So ultimately I’d have to say that I make wine for others. That’s the great thing about wine, it’s art but it’s art that is meant to be consumed. As the artist, my work is appreciated when it’s opened and we raise our glass. As I say on this bottle, this is the wine “@ dinner, a party, lunch with friends, home.” The wine is all about lifestyle.

RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.

ROBERT: This @Arroba (“At Arroba”) Edna Valley Pinot Noir is one of a new line of appellation specific wines I’m doing, featuring specific appellations around California that produce great wines. We have a Chardonnay, Cabernet, Merlot and this Pinot. Edna Valley is in central California is one of these special appellations. We source the wine from friends of ours who control their own vineyards in the Edna Valley and finish the wine at Deerfield Ranch Winery in Kenwood.

By the way, the @ (AT) sign is the most recognized symbol in the world. Besides being used in everyone’s emails it was originally a measure of a volume of wine, when first transported in skins. These were called Arrobas.

RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?

ROBERT: Pinot goes with a wider variety of food than any other wine. It is our favorite for Thanksgiving dinner, with all those competing flavors that make an American Thanksgiving dinner so special. At Deerfield we also enjoy it with fish off the grill. A little dry rub on a Halibut or Salmon steak on the grill, some grilled vegetables with a glass of Pinot – Perfect. The other night we had it with a hardy risotto with wild mushrooms and red peppers. It was delicious.

RED: In your opinion, what makes the Edna Valley region so special?

ROBERT: The Edna Valley is just north of the Tehachapi Mountains, which separates the north from the south part of the state. The valley is just over the coastal mountains from Santa Barbara and the cold Pacific Ocean. A gap through the mountains cools the west side of Edna Valley where these Pinot Noir grapes grow making it an ideal terroir for Pinot. The fog rolls in late in the day, cooling the midday heat and hangs in the valley until late the next morning. This happens throughout most of the growing season. The soil is sparse and low in nutrients, bad for lettuce but great for Pinot Noir grapes. Edna Valley is one of the few perfect appellations for Pinot Noir.

RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?

ROBERT: The Crush. We picked the last of our grapes this past Monday but we have about 75 fermentations still going on. We punch each bath down three times per day and are busy pressing out and barreling those lots that are finished fermenting. We’re filling barrels every day and assessing where we are going with the vintage. It was a challenging year with our third cool summer in a row and early rains. We’ll be making wines with much lower alcohols and lighter body. It should be interesting. We’ll see what the critics say. They have been after us for years to make wines like these. I’ll call it a winemaker’s year for sure, separates the men from the boys. We on the cutting edge at Deerfield so we’ll turn out some stellar wines as usual. We’ll have everything barreled and put to bed in the cave by about end of November, then two weeks to clean the place up and we’ll go skiing.

RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?

ROBERT: Have fun and enjoy, that’s all I ask. I enjoy making wine and I want everyone out there to enjoy drinking it.

RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

ROBERT: Thanks for drinking the @Wine!

RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work. We are big fans!

ROBERT: It’s my pleasure.

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The approximate location of the Deerfield Ranch Winery, where today’s great wine was born, can be seen in this satellite photo.

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The approximate location of the Deerfield Ranch Winery, where today’s great wine was born, can be seen in this satellite photo.

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