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.
The 2020 Chardonnay UV - El Diablo Vineyard is extraordinarily impressive particularly given the multitude of challenges this vintage. It was matured for 12 months in 33% new French oak and finished with six months in stainless steel. The nose is complex and pure with continually evolving scents of white peach panna cotta lime peel coriander seed and floral perfume. The palate is luxurious and satiny with a harmony of expansive perfumed fruit and focused acidity and its very long energetic finish is addicting. No reason to lay this down?enjoy it over the next 3-5+ years. 350 cases were made.
Elegant and composed with perfectly ripe Bartlett pear yellow apple and citrus zest at the core plus hints of buttery pie crust and touches of vanilla cream and dried apple. Delicate balanced and extremely nuanced with a fresh thread of acidity gaining momentum on the finish. Drink now through 2031. 350 cases made.