Week 2: Sommelier Feature: Arnot-Roberts, Sui Generis

su·i ge·ne·ris
Latin, literally ‘of its own kind.’

One of the most exciting California wineries in our book right now is Arnot-Roberts.

Childhood friends Duncan Arnot Meyers and Nathan Lee Roberts are producing some really, really good wines. They have such depth of character and texture. They're experimenting with grapes like Trousseau, Gamay and changing the mentality of what can be produced with Zinfandel and Syrah. Low alcohol, high acid, peppery and barely oaked red wines.

Recent accolades and great reviews from critics include Jon Bonné of the San Francisco Chronicle honored them "Winemakers of the Year in 2012". 

Eric Asimov of The New York Times writes often that they're the alternative to the paradigm of substantial, powerfully fruity wines and praises their dauntless to make trousseau in California.

Duncan Arnot Meyers (left) and Nathan Lee Roberts

The amount of wines that are available in Illinois is tiny. While California and New York are allocated bottles that sell out quickly through email offers, fortunately we still have some in stock available to you.

Chicago has embraced the new California wines made by young, innovative producers that have shifted a little from the rich, oaked styles of the past. While we love our big cabernets, that find a perfect place on steak house menus, there are so many new restaurants that are making food that requires mineral-driven, leaner and balanced wines. 

Our sommelier feature will continue to highlight some of these producers in our book, that may surprise you if you haven't tasted them yet. 

About Arnot-Roberts:

Duncan and Nathan grew up around winemaking in the Napa Valley. Nathan is a second generation cooper and personally builds all of the French oak barrels that are utilized in the ageing of all Arnot-Roberts wines. Over the years Duncan has worked making wine in the Napa Valley in wineries like, Caymus, Groth, Acacia, Kongsgaard.

The focus of this two person operation is on small lot, single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay, as well as several other varieties uncommon in Northern Californian vineyards. Sites are carefully chosen and are generally on the cooler end of the spectrum for the planted varieties. Collaboration with dedicated and passionate growers is paramount in the farming of these sites. Total production of Arnot-Roberts is around 1,400 cases per year with eleven individual wines. Both primary and secondary fermentations are carried out utilizing native yeast and are bottled without fining or filtration.

For the Syrahs whole clusters are retained during primary fermentation and the amount of new cooperage used for each wine is site and vintage specific, generally not exceeding 30% new. Grapes are a blend of the vineyards Nellessen, Clary Ranch, Alder Springs and Old Lakeville. 100% whole cluster, native yeast fermentation, and aged in neutral French oak for 11 months.

For the Cabernets, hillside sites of intense character are chosen, small amounts of whole clusters are retained during primary fermentation and the wines are age for two years in varying amounts of new French Oak cooperage, selected and toasted to meld with the vintage at hand. White wines are whole cluster pressed and stainless steel fermented with native yeast, then aged in neutral French oak barrels.


Available only in limited quantities. Contact your Sales Guide for questions or login to sevenfifty here to view prices

2011 Arnot Roberts Bugay Cabernet Sauvignon

2011 Arnot Roberts Clajeux Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

2011 Arnot Roberts Fellom Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon 

2011 Arnot Roberts Griffins Lair Syrah

2013 Arnot Roberts North Coast Syrah

2012 Arnot Roberts North Coast Syrah 

2013 Arnot Roberts Watson Ranch Chardonnay