The 2016 Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay showcases the quality of one of the Russian River Valley’s Grand Cru vineyards. Made from a 40-year-old block of Old Wente selection Chardonnay, the wine displays aromas of melted rocks, candied lemon peel, orange zest, lemon oil, white flowers, and sweet cream. On the palate, the wine is ethereal and vibrant, with notes of white peach, lemon butter, and pear skin. This Chardonnay has incredible density and length, with layers of flavors unfolding on the palate for a full minute.
Tucked along Westside Road next to some great Pinot Noir and Chardonnay producers and vineyards, Arista has really taking their wines to a new level since bringing on winemaker Matt Courtney (of Ferren and Marcassin fame) since their 2013 vintage. Mark and his brother, Ben are taking this incredible property that was started by their parents and bringing it to a level that rivals the best of California Pinot Noir and Chardonnay producers. I sat with Mark and their assistant winemaker, Gordon Miller, to taste through all their new offerings, including an unmarked bottle of Pinot Noir that proved to be exceptional. Gordon has worked in Sonoma for the past decade at wineries including Peter Michael, Rochioli and Marcassin and has worked alongside Matt since 2008.