Arista Winery

California: Russian River Valley, United States

Chardonnay, U.V.-El Diablo Vineyard, Russian River Valley – 2018

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  • Vineyard Profile

    • Ulises Valdez planted the El Diablo Vineyard in 2008. The site is located on a ridge off of Eastside Road that serves as the eastern edge of the Russian River Valley Appellation. The location of the site means that while each morning the vineyard is shrouded in fog by early afternoon the marine layer burns off and the vines are able to soak in several hours of warm sunlight. Careful thought was put into both rootstock and clonal selection for the vineyard. Our blocks of Chardonnay are planted to Old Wente and Montrachet Selections and were grafted to rootstock 420a. Row spacing is tight at 4×6 which helps to further reduce vigor and encourage competition for nutrients. The result is low yielding vines that produce intense, flavor packed clusters. Though young now, the exceptional potential of this site is already very apparent.

    • Vineyards: El Diablo Vineyard
    • Appellation: Russian River Valley
    • Vine Age: 11 years
    • Clones: Old Wente and Montrachet
    • Soil: Goldridge, fine sandy loam
  • 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.

    • Filtration: Unfiltered
    • Fining: Unfined
  • Technical Information

    • Varietal Composition: 100% Chardonnay
  • Tasting Notes

    • The U.V. (Ulises Valdez) El Diablo is a vineyard we have been working with for the better part of a decade and seems to get better every year. This east-facing site benefits from the warming rays of the morning sun, while being well-protected from the peak of the afternoon heat. As a result, U.V. El Diablo perennially enjoys a perfect balance between the richness that has made the Russian River Valley famous for Chardonnay, and the detail, precision, and lift made possible by the soils and aspect of this special site.

      2018 is a spectacular vintage for Chardonnay and the U.V. El Diablo bottling reflects this with its broad spectrum of classic notes: lemon oil, cut kiwi, pine needle and baking spices. The wine is beautifully translucent, and effortlessly silky. This is a wine that gives copious amounts of pleasure at this very young stage, but it will also age gracefully for a decade or more.



  • Arista Winery Chardonnay, U.V.-El Diablo Vineyard, Russian River Valley — 2018 – Jeb Dunnuck – 95 Points

    I always love this cuvée, and the 2018 Chardonnay UV El Diablo Vineyard doesn't disappoint, offering a full-throttle, rich, yet still poised and elegant style with lots of ripe melon, honeyed lemon, flower oil, crushed stone, and subtle toasty oak-like aromas and flavors. Beautiful on the palate, with lots of clean, crisp fruit as well as ample texture, it's balanced, has a great finish, and is just a brilliant Russian River Chardonnay.

  • Arista Winery Chardonnay, U.V.-El Diablo Vineyard, Russian River Valley — 2018 – Wine Spectator – 95 Points

    Big, rich and powerful, with concentrated apple and peach pastry flavors that are filled with cooking spice and custardy accents, followed by notes of buttered toast on the finish.

  • Arista Winery Chardonnay, U.V.-El Diablo Vineyard, Russian River Valley — 2018 – Vinous – 94 Points

    This is rich and textured in feel. A bold, dramatic wine, the Diablo races across the palate with striking depth and tons of textural richness. This is an especially oily, viscous Chardonnay, with all the elements nicely balanced. Tangerine oil, mint, honey, almond, dried flowers and chamomile all grace this caressing, inviting Chardonnay from Arista.