Arista Winery was founded in 2002 by Al and Jancis McWilliams with the intent of producing small quantities of quality Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from The Russian River Valley District . The day to day operations are now run by their sons Mark and Ben. Matt Courtney, formerly at Marcassin from 2005 to 2012 and now also with his own wines at Ferren, is the winemaker here.
The estate’s vineyards comprise 36 acres of land just outside Healdsburg in the heart of the Russian River Valley known as the Middle Reach. Of this, nine acres are planted to Pinot Noir and one to Chardonnay, the vines having been selected form some of the best vines in the region to give diversity and quality.
In addition, Arista sources fruit from a number of growers – including Steve Alden’s Perli Vineyard on the Mendocino Coast , Chardonnay from Kent Ritchie’s Ritchie Vineyard, the Kanzler family’s 15 acre vineyard on the western edge of the Russian River Valley, Pinot Noir from Paul and Amy Mononi’s vineyard near Olivet Road on the region’s eastern edge and from the Toboni family’s site in the heart of the Valley. In addition there are old vines planted Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the Mark and Kim Demptster’s cool Banfield Vineyard and two vineyards owned by the Valdez family – Chardonnay from El Diablo and Pinot Noir from Lucky Well.
From these sources Arista produces what they call ‘Appellation” Wines – a Russian River Chardonnay and a Pinot Noir, plus single vineyard wines , of which the best known is the Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay, plus two Pinots wines from their own vineyards, bottled as “Two Birds” and Harper’s Rest.
Big complex and rich-tasting with ripe apple baked pear and quince paste flavors offering curry spice accents. Toasty notes glide across the palate on the plush buttery finish. Drink now through 2025. 210 cases made. ? KM
The 2017 Chardonnay UV - El Diablo Vineyard is slow to open aromatically at this stage offering glimpses of citrus blossom honeyed almonds saline and orange peel with a core of quince gaining intensity and nuance as it sits in the glass. It explodes in the mouth with savory concentrated flavor layers and it's medium-bodied ultra silky and fresh with a very long energetic finish. This has great potential to gain depth and nuance in bottle so forget it in the cellar for a couple of years.
The 2017 Chardonnay U.V. El Diablo Vineyard brings together all the best elements of the Arista house style. Rich bold and luscious with no hard edges the 2017 is a real showstopper. Apricot honeysuckle orange confit wildflower butter tropical fruit and honeyed notes all race across the palate in this deep stunning and creamy Chardonnay. -- Antonio Galloni