Arista Winery

California: Russian River Valley, United States

Chardonnay, U.V.-El Diablo Vineyard, Russian River Valley – 2019

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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: 12 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.

    • 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
  • Tasting Notes

    • The El Diablo Vineyard bottling is consistently one of our most focused and linear Chardonnays.The 2019 vintage is particularly pure, with an emphasis on fresh, white stone fruit. Asian pear and white peach come immediately to mind. A firm beam of acidity provides a pleasant contrast to the fleshy mid-palate. The contribution of the “Old Wente” selection of Chardonnay in the vineyard becomes apparent as subtle notes of white pepper and caramelized sugar emerge. The “Montrachet” selection, on the other hand, gives the wine its finesse and levity on the palate. These two exceptional selections of Chardonnay are perfectly matched to the climate of the Russian River Valley and, when planted on such an ideal site, can’t help but give rise to a wine that seems to reach new levels of quality in every successive vintage.