On the White Keys is a blend of 74% Sauvignon Blanc and 26% Semillon, the 2019 Arietta white wine jolts the palate with a burst of positive energy. It is incredibly fresh, with notes of Meyer lemon, white peach, and orange peel mingling with hints of vanilla bean, pie crust, and rushing river. The aromas are brilliant, showing an array of subtle floral scents—star jasmine, gardenia, and magnolia, among others. Aging on the lees for 9 months brings a breadth to the wine, making the finish bright and expansive. While fruit and freshness are the main appeals right now, this wine will certainly cellar well.
The Arietta project is owned and run by the Kongsgaard and Hatton families. John Kongsgaard, the winemaker, is a fifth-generation Napan, but the first in his family to make wine. Kongsgaard has grown grapes since 1975 and made wine professionally since 1979, notably for thirteen vintages at Newton and five at Luna, as well as looking after numerous clients as a viticultural and enological consultant. Since founding Arietta and Kongsgaard in 1996, he has limited wine production to that which he can make with his own hands. In 2000, Kongsgaard stopped all consulting activities, devoting himself solely to twenty-eight acres of vineyard and the resulting Arietta and Kongsgaard wines.
Fritz Hatton is the nation’s foremost wine auctioneer. He worked for Christie’s for most of the last two decades and was in charge of Christie’s U.S. wine auctions from 1995 to 1998. In the spring of 2002, Hatton joined the prominent retailer, Zachy’s, as auctioneer and consultant to Zachy’s Auctions, Inc. He serves as principal auctioneer for the Napa Valley Wine Auction and conducts numerous other charity wine auctions across the U.S. Hatton is responsible for the sales and distribution of the Arietta and Kongsgaard wines and shares the marketing duties with Kongsgaard.
The partners came together through their love of music. Fritz is a serious amateur pianist and singer, and the Kongsgaards present a ten concert classical music series in Napa. Their friendship in music is reflected in the Arietta wine label: Beethoven’s manuscript of the Arietta movement of his last piano sonata, Opus 111.