Arista Winery

California: Russian River Valley, United States

Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley – 2014

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  • Introduction

    • Arista Winery was founded by the McWilliams family with a mission to create the most elegant expressions of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. We source grapes from small, responsibly farmed vineyard “gems” and work closely with these growers who share our dedication to sustainability in their vineyards. This combination of minimal intervention and gentle yet meticulous coaxing in the vineyards and cellar have resulted in wines with rich, deep flavors that reflect the distinctive sites from which the grapes are sourced. Produced in small lots of several barrels, the wines are deliciously balanced with fruit, tannins, acidity and oak in harmonious proportion.

      The Russian River Valley Pinot Noir is a blend that represents the unique characteristics of the appellation that set it apart from other growing regions. This wine is defined by its rich weight and texture and by the dark fruit profile commonly associated with the Russian River Valley.

  • Vintage Report

    • 2014 was our second full year of drought in the North Coast, and not surprisingly, the growing season was dry and warm. Everything was early in 2014: Dry soils and mild spring weather resulted in one of the earliest initiations of budbreak we’ve seen in years. That trend continued throughout the season, as we stayed several weeks ahead of average all the way through the onset of harvest in mid-August.

      A benefit of a dry, early year is that berry size is kept in check. 2014 was characterized by small Pinot Noir clusters containing many small, but highly flavorful berries. With small berries, we get a higher skin-to-juice ratio which leads to more extraction of flavor, color and aroma.

  • Vinification

    • Cold grapes arrive at the winery early in the morning after having been picked at night. The clusters are sorted by hand and then destemmed into small, open-top fermenters. The juice is allowed to warm gradually and naturally in the fermenter. Given that all of the wines are made with native yeasts and are not inoculated, this cold-soak period can vary between five and eight days depending on how long it takes these native populations to build up and begin fermentation. Pinot Noir fermentations are kept below 85 degrees. The wines always go through malolactic fermentation. The wines then spend the next 11 months in barrel. Seventy percent of these are François Frères, 15 percent are Sirugue and 15 percent are Chassin. The new oak component ranges from 30 percent for the appellation wines to 40 percent for the vineyard designates. The wine is racked clean just prior to bottling.

  • Technical Information

    • Barrel Program: 30% new barrels, 70% neutral barrels

    • Varietal Composition: 100% Pinot Noir
    • Alcohol: 14.5%
    • TA: 5.3g/L
    • p H: 3.80
    • RS: <1.0g/L
  • Tasting Notes

    • The 2014 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir is a beautifully pure expression of the 2014 growing season in the heart of Sonoma County. This cuvée was made with a modest amount of new oak influence to allow the character of the vintage to take center stage. On the nose, copious amounts of juicy blue and red fruits testify to the warm, dry growing season. Notes of gingerbread, pain grille, raspberry reduction and wild strawberry follow suit. The palate boasts an exquisite purity of fruit centered on crushed cherries and fresh raspberries. Perfectly balanced on the palate, the wine is rich and long with just enough acid to pair with the soft, slightly chalky tannins for a pleasant, extended finish. Peak drinking window: 2016 through 2026.



  • Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley – 2014 – 96 points, Editor’s Choice – Wine Enthusiast

    “A best-of blend from several of the producer’s vineyard sites, this wine explodes in flavor and complexity as though celebrating each site’s individual beauty and potential. Black pepper and crisp orange and pomegranate flavors show through…”

  • Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley – 2014 – 92 points – Wine Spectator

    "Generous, from the light smoky and toasty aromas to the core of strawberry, raspberry, plum and blackberry. Offers depth, persistence and length..."

  • Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley – 2014

    On the nose, juicy blue and red fruit testify to the warm, dry growing season. Notes of gingerbread, pain grille, raspberry reduction and wild strawberry follow. The palate boasts a purity of fruit centered on crushed cherries and fresh raspberries.