Something Old, Something New
“Reboot: Producers rarely turn on a dime, but Arista did with the 2013 vintage. This Russian River Valley winery had been making very good wines from vineyards on and around its property, but knew it could improve and in 2013 it did. Owners Mark and Ben McWilliams credit hiring winemaker Matt Courtney the year before. Courtney is a talented, attentive winemaker mentored by one of the best, Marcassin’s Helen Turley. His Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs for Arista are striking, bound to invite comparisons to Marcassin.
“Each of the 2013 Arista wines displays its own personality, with the Chardonnays ranging from the ultraplush Ritchie Vineyard 2013, to the silkier, more refined Banfield Vineyard 2013, which is especially reminiscent of Marcassin with its generous overlay of oak. Of the 11 2013 Arista Pinots I reviewed this year, all but one rated outstanding, including the Harper’s Rest, which stands out for its sheer elegance. Arista achieved what many wineries only hope for – to take their game to the next level. “