Chardonnay, Ritchie Vineyard, Russian River Valley – 2015
Kent Ritchie has owned and farmed his namesake vineyard since the early 1970’s. The vineyard is located just off of River Road at the intersection of Eastside Road and Trenton Road. The location is unique because it sits on a bench at the confluence of the Russian River, the Santa Rosa Plain, and the Laguna de Santa Rosa. Each of these unique geological characteristics influences the “terroir” of the Ritchie Vineyard. The vineyard’s proximity to the Pacific Ocean exposes it to the cool effect of the coastal fog yet at the same time the site’s location allows for ample sunlight once the fog has burned off around noon. The well-drained, sandy, Goldridge Soils are ideal for growing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Finally, the vineyard is planted to, predominately, the Old Wente Selection of Chardonnay which is highly coveted for its low yields and ability to produce an intensely flavored and aromatic wine. Kent Ritchie is truly a great guy and this is absolutely one of the grand vineyards of the Russian River Valley. It’s an honor to work with such an iconic vineyard.
Cold grapes arrive at the winery early in the morning after having been picked at night. Grape clusters are sorted by hand and gently transferred as whole clusters directly into our press to undergo an extremely gentle press cycle lasting 3-4 hours. From the settling tank, the juice is moved to 60-gallon French oak barrels, where fermentation is allowed to occur naturally using only native yeast that come in from our vineyards. Limited battonage is used during the first 2-3 months of fermentation in order to encourage the development of a healthy yeast population. Once fermentation is safely underway the wine is not disturbed until the fermentation is complete, which typically takes about 10-11 months. Final blends are assembled and gently racked to stainless-steel tanks for about 4-6 months.
Vine Age: 40-45 years
Soil: Well-drained, sandy, Goldridge Soils
Clonal Composition: Old Wente Selection
Aging: 12 months fermentation and aging in barrel followed by 6 months in stainless steel
A rich, layered wine which showcases the quality of one of the Russian River Valley’s Grand Cru vineyards. On the nose, the wine displays aromas of wet granite, brioche, orange zest, lemon oil, white flowers and sweet cream. On the palate, the wine is silky and rich, with notes of pear nectar, lemon butter, mango and panna cotta. The wine has an intensity that builds on the palate for several seconds, peaking with an electric acidity. This Chardonnay has incredible density and length, with layers of flavors unfolding on the palate for a full minute.
Arista Winery Chardonnay, Ritchie Vineyard, Russian River Valley – 2015 – Vinous – 96 Points
The 2015 Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard is powerful, deep and beautifully expressive, with tremendous resonance in all of its dimensions. Vivid, voluptuous and racy, the 2015 exudes class. Crushed rocks, white orchard fruit, lemon peel and mint are all very nicely delineated. Above all else, the Ritchie offers surprising freshness and nuance for such a big wine. The Arista Ritchie emerges from 40 year-old vines on the highest part of the property.
Arista Winery Chardonnay, Ritchie Vineyard, Russian River Valley – 2015- Wine Enthusiast – 94 Points
Floral, reduced and mineral-driven, this blockbuster wine is tremendously complex and memorable. White peach, pineapple and white flowers intermingle with ease as teases of fennel, dried herb and ginger come to the fore. The oak lingers in wisps of salty caramel.
Chardonnay, Ritchie Vineyard, Russian River Valley – 2015 – 93 points – Wine Advocate
“The 2015 Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard delivers pronounced pink grapefruit, green mango and pineapple notes with touches of jasmine, coriander seed and ginger plus a waft of lanolin."