Arietta, Napa Valley, Variation One, Red 2002

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By C4

95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

The stunning 2002 Variation One (70% Merlot and 30% Syrah) exhibits an exotic, opulent personality with a deep purple color, and sweet aromas of cocoa, new saddle leather, black raspberries, cassis, and acacia flowers. Full-bodied, with beautifully integrated oak (all of these wines are aged in 100% new French wood), wonderful sweetness, tremendous delineation, and laser-like clarity and transparency of character. (RP) (2/2005)

93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

Good medium ruby. Brooding, medicinal aromas of inky black fruits. Tougher today than the 2003 from barrel, but offers outstanding flavor intensity and clarity, with notes of black raspberry, spice, licorice and chocolate emerging with aeration. Less obviously sweet today than the 2003 (I might have picked this blind as a classic Bordeaux blend including Petit Verdot and cab franc), but finishes with superb breadth of tannins. 'The H Block is an homage to more refined Old World wines,' notes Kongsgaard, 'while this is more California exotic.' (ST) 93+ (5/2005)

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