This 2016 Russian River Valley Chardonnay is a blend of single vineyard barrels including Ritchie Vineyard, Banfield Vineyard and UV-El Diablo Vineyard. “Notes of brioche, yellow peach, panna cotta, and white flowers greet the nose, while flavors of tangy limeade, pear nectar, lemon zest are buoyed by a savory and mouth-watering mix of acid and minerals on the finish.” This is one of our go-to Chardonnays when wanting to showcase a great RRV appellation White.
Vintner Mark McWilliams is charting Arista's course as one of the most sought-after Chardonnays and Pinot Noir producers today as well as reinterpreting how we think in general of Russian River Valley when it comes to these varietals. Arista’s winemaker is Matt Courtney and I have gotten to know Matt’s winemaking through his efforts at Marcassin as well as more recently with his own outstanding Ferren Wines offerings these past few years. Now he is dedicated to helping Mark and his family recalibrate the opinion of not just their wine program but Russian River Valley wines as well. For decades, Russian River Valley has been considered the benchmark appellation for great Chard and Pinot Noir but in the last several years, most of the newer and perhaps more newsworthy/marketing-saavy projects have come from outside of Russian River Valley. In fact, some wineries have used that as their way of marketing– the fact that they are not Russian River Valley. After tasting through most of their current offerings I must say that the attention for great Pinot Noir and Chardonnay needs to go right back into the valley that first made these grapes famous in California and specifically, to Arista. Thanks to Mark and his brother Ben’s unwavering dedication, they are recreating not just their estate program but also upholding and even improving upon the reputation of Russian River Valley wines in general. The McWilliams family has given Matt Courtney the tools and resources to produce exceptional Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and that’s exactly what he has done for this 2016 vintage.