2018 Arista Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard
by JJ Buckley Fine Wines
On Sale: $84.94 (was: $99.94)*
Arista has had the good fortune to work with some of Sonoma’s best vineyards for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and since the second generation has taken the reins, they are consistently making “some of the best wines in the vintage” (Dunnuck) with these hallowed sites. Winemaker Matt Courtney was assistant winemaker at Marcassan, so he’s no stranger to making top-shelf Chardonnay, and his work with Ritchie Vineyard is arguably the best stuff he’s done.
Ritchie Vineyard is at the heart of the Russian River Valley with a complex interplay of soils types and climate, and Arista’s incredible block of 40+ year old vines at the highest point in the vineyard are naturally low yielding. This double 96pt 2018 is “silky, super fresh and energetic” (Wine Advocate) and from a stylistic standpoint, it’s the ideal California Chardonnay showing new world fruit and old-world minerality/freshness.
Mark and Ben McWilliams have made some impressive changes at Arista over the last ten years, most notably slashing their production volume by over half, and “transforming Arista into a world-class winery” (Vinous). Now a “shining Star of California Chardonnay” (Wine Spectator), their new winery was finished in time for the 2018 vintage, and the whole lineup is “dialed in and super-expressive” (Vinous). Only 600 cases were produced, and this is such an impressive showing from “one of the Grand Cru sites in the Russian River” (Dunnuck), in what is sure to be a benchmark vintage for Sonoma!
96 points, Wine Spectator: "Powerfully structured, with an unctuous mix of white fruit and cooking spice flavors. Hints of roasted fennel midpalate lead to a sculpted finish that shows plenty of toasty accents. Drink now through 2027. 600 cases made."
96 points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: "The 2018 Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard has so much energy this year! Singular aromas of lemon meringue and preserved grapefruit mingle with accents of white flowers and crushed stone. The palate is light on its feet, silky, super fresh and energetic, with an effortless finish that offers lingering preserved lemon, salty tang and textural grip. This deserves another 2-3 years in bottle, at least. Drink 2022-2032"
*Offer publication date December 7, 2021. Pricing and availability subject to change.