Arista Winery

California: Russian River Valley, United States

Chardonnay, Ritchie Vineyard, Russian River Valley — 2021

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  • Introduction

    • WINERY: The core principle of the winemaking philosophy at Arista is to capture and express the true character and potential of each vineyard. They work with a very carefully chosen handful of grand-cru level Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards, and are uncompromising in their efforts to maximize the full potential of the wines crafted from these special sites.

      WINE: Ritchie Vineyard is without a doubt one of California’s Grand Cru Chardonnay sites. For nearly 50 years, Kent Ritchie has cultivated this unique slope in the Russian River Valley, yielding legendary wines. We’re privileged to work with the vineyard’s oldest and highest block, one of the earliest Chardonnay plantings in the area. These ancient vines produce small but intense clusters annually, resulting in consistently balanced, intense, and poised wines.

  • 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. 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.

    • Vineyard Owner: Kent Ritchie
    • Appellation: Russian River Valley
    • Location: California
    • Cultivation: Sustainable
    • Vine Age: 44 years
    • Soil: Well-drained, sandy, Goldridge Soils
  • Vintage Report

    • The 2021 vintage was marked by ideal weather conditions, resulting in exceptional fruit from our vineyard partners throughout Northern California and from our estate. The winter was relatively dry in California, leading to an early bud break and small yields. Beautiful warm weather during the summer and the absence of extreme heat spikes in the latter half of the season allowed for excellent fruit maturation. As the season progressed, the theme of “early” continued, leading to a prompt harvest in advance of fall rains. The wines from 2021 represent a new high-water mark for wine quality at Arista. They’re true reflections of a wonderful season at Arista and across California.

  • Vinification

    • 12 months fermentation and aging in barrel followed by 4-6 months in stainless steel. Unfined, unfiltered.

    • Aging: Approximately 11 months fermentation and aging in barrel followed by 4-6 months in stainless steel
    • Filtration: Unfiltered
    • Fining: Unfined
  • Technical Information

    • Varietal Composition: 100% Chardonnay
    • Alcohol: 13.6%
  • Tasting Notes

    • The 2021 Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay, made from “Old Wente” selection, is energetic and complex. Its citrus driven profile and refreshing acidity are complemented by lemon-lime notes and a lean palate. Additional flavors of grilled pineapple, lemon tart, and creme brûlée emerge over time. This bright, aromatic expression of New World Chardonnay is a prime example of the 2021 season’s superb aging potential.