Arista Winery

California: Russian River Valley, United States

Chardonnay, Ritchie Vineyard, Russian River Valley – 2017

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  • Vineyard Profile

    • 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.

    • Vineyards: Ritchie Vineyard
    • Vineyard Owner: Kent Ritchie
    • Appellation: Russian River Valley
    • Vine Age: 40-45 years
    • Clones: Old Wente Selection
    • Soil: Well-drained, sandy, Goldridge Soils
  • Vinification

    • 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.

    • Aging: 12 months fermentation and aging in barrel followed by 6 months in stainless steel
    • Filtration: Unfiltered
    • Fining: Unfined
  • Technical Information

    • Varietal Composition: 100% Chardonnay
  • Tasting Notes

    • Ritchie Vineyard is a magical place for Chardonnay. Home to one of the oldest plantings of Chardonnay in the Russian River Valley, this south-facing site has become famous for producing wines that simultaneously possess both wonderful richness and a lifted freshness. The 2017 Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay is a particularly ethereal example of that. Perfectly transparent, and pale gold in color, the wine is quiet and elegant at first but then builds as it opens up in the glass. A nose of panna cotta and yellow flowers is paired with flavors of white peach nectar, toasted hazelnut, grilled pineapple, and lemon curd. The palate is silky and seamless with a steely minerality adding texture to the finish. Peak drinking window: 2020 through 2028.



  • Arista Winery Chardonnay, Ritchie Vineyard, Russian River Valley – 2017 – The Wine Advocate – 95 Points

    The 2017 Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard is a stunning wine. It offers singular aromas of guava, grapefruit peel and musky hints with layers of tangerine, green herbs, crushed stone and hints of elderflower. The medium-bodied palate is very expressive with kaleidoscopic flavor layers and addicting juiciness, finishing long and ever-changing in the mouth. This is a flamboyant expression that can be drunk immediately or cellared for a few years.

  • Arista Winery Chardonnay, Ritchie Vineyard, Russian River Valley – 2017 – Jeb Dunnuck – 98 Points

    From one of the Grand Cru sites in the Russian River (although it's a big, diverse site), the 2017 Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard saw the standard 12 months in one-third new French oak followed by six months in stainless steel. Buttered pineapple, nectarines, honeyed flowers, almond paste, toasted bread, and honeysuckle notes all emerge from the glass, and this beauty is full-bodied on the palate and flawlessly balanced. The purity of fruit is just about off the charts, and it has good acidity as well as a great mid-palate...

  • Arista Winery Chardonnay, Ritchie Vineyard, Russian River Valley – 2017 – Wine Spectator – 92 Points

    Lusciously spiced, with well-structured white fruit flavors that are matched to dried mango and roasted pineapple details. The decadent finish features buttery pastry notes. Drink now through 2024. 239 cases made.

  • Arista Winery Chardonnay, Ritchie Vineyard, Russian River Valley – 2017 – Vinous – 94 Points

    The 2017 Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard shows the more finessed side of the Arista house style. Orchard fruit, white flowers, lemon confit and white pepper give the 2017 a striking register of brightness to play off the rich, viscous fruit. This textured and super-explosive Chardonnay has a ton to offer.