The 2016 Vintage at Arista Winery – Breaking The Drought!

by Matt Courtney, Winemaker | Arista Winery

After three full years of drought the rains finally came during the winter of 2015/2016. The rainy season from October through May marked the end of the historic drought that plagued most of California for the 4 preceding years. While the wines made during the dry period were exceptional – the lack of rainfall producing wines of great concentration, color, and intensity — we as farmers were increasingly nervous that we were seeing a new normal for rainfall totals in the North Coast. The winter rains we received weren’t torrential, but they were enough to finally fill our reservoirs and top up (and then some) our water tables which afforded a somewhat dramatic return to normal conditions in the vineyard.

The wines from the 2016 vintage reflect this shift. While the 2015 Pinot Noirs are impressive in their depth of color, concentration, and power, the 2016’s seem incredibly fresh and vibrant in comparison. The colors, while not nearly as dark as some of the 2015’s, are textbook bright ruby and garnet — classic. The wines almost glow they are so vibrant.

The 2016 Chardonnays also enjoyed the bounce back from winter rains. The Chardonnays are effortlessly light on their feet with beautiful clarity and wonderful drinkability while remaining complex and long on the finish at the same time. The 2016’s are the sweet spot for California Chardonnay – more lifted and brighter than the super-concentration found during the drought vintages of 2012-2015.

The energy in the wines from the 2016 vintage is a common thread throughout each of our vineyard sites and the energy carries over into the flavors, textures, and aromas. Fresh and lifted are the words that come to mind as we taste through the line-up. The wines have wonderful energy, mouthwatering acidity, and should age gracefully. This vintage is a welcome return to the classic qualities of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley.

The 2016 vintage from Arista is now available to ship to our trade partners

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Matt Courtney, Winemaker | Arista Winery, February 19, 2019
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February 19, 2019

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