Arista Winery

California: Russian River Valley, United States

Chardonnay, Banfield Vineyard, Russian River Valley – 2014

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  • Vineyard Profile

    • The Banfield Vineyard Chardonnay comes from the northern edge of the Green Valley, a sub-appellation of the Russian River Valley. Due to the cooling influence of coastal fog, this vineyard is ideal for growing Chardonnay. This dry-farmed vineyard was planted in 1980 to the Wente selection of Chardonnay, a highly prized selection known for its small, loose clusters and intensely flavored grapes. The 30-plus-year-old vines are rare in the Russian River Valley and produce lower yields per acre. What’s lost in tonnage is more than compensated for in flavor and quality as is evidenced through the wines produced year after year. We are proud to work with Banfield, where the combination of site and vine age represent a truly unique and distinct vineyard.

  • 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.

  • Vinification

    • Cold grapes arrive at the winery early in the morning after having been picked at night. If necessary, the clusters are sorted by hand and then gently transferred as whole clusters directly into our press. The grapes will undergo an extremely gentle press cycle lasting three to four hours. The slow, gentle-press cycle allows us to extract the flavorful juice from the grapes yet mitigates the extraction of bitter tannins resulting from damaged or broken seeds and stems. The sweet, fresh juice is then transferred to a stainless-steel tank and allowed to settle overnight. From the settling tank, the juice is moved to 60-gallon French oak barrels. Once in barrel, fermentation is allowed to occur naturally using native yeast that come in from our vineyards. We do not inoculate any of our wines, white or red, with industrial strains of yeast for primary or secondary fermentation. Fermentations build very slowly over the first few months due to the fragile and complex nature of native yeast. Limited battonage is used during the first two to three 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. It is critical to not move or disturb the fermenting wine during this time in order to allow gravity to being clarifying the wine. It is not uncommon for primary and secondary fermentation to take 10-plus months. Once the wines have fully completed fermentation, normally about 10 to 11 months, final blends are assembled and the wine is gently racked to stainless-steel tanks. This time in stainless steel is key as it allows the young, newly blended wines to begin to knit together and further allows for a second clarification by gravity. Time in stainless steel typically is four to six months. At the end of this period, approximately 16 to 18 months in total, the wine is bottled unfined and unfiltered.

  • Technical Information

    • Varietal Composition: 100% Chardonnay
    • Alcohol: 14.5%
    • TA: 5.8g/L
    • p H: 3.52
    • RS: 2.3g/L
  • Tasting Notes

    • The Chardonnay blocks in Banfield Vineyard are some of the coolest sites we work with. The vineyard sits in a protected pocket of the Russian River Valley that collects cool air in the mornings, and warms up slowly only when the morning sun peeks over the surrounding hills. Aromas of lime zest, orange blossom, wet granite and baking spices emanate from the 2014 Banfield Vineyard Chardonnay. The wine is silky with great density and minerality on the mid-palate. Notes of pear skin, lime curd and lemon butter unfold through the long finish. Peak drinking window: 2017 through 2027.

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Reviews

  • Chardonnay, Banfield Vineyard, Russian River Valley – 2014 – 93 points – Wine Spectator Insider

    "This is built around exotic wood scents of smoke and butterscotch that complement the rich core of fig, apricot and honeydew melon. A full-blown, multidimensional Chardonnay that will captivate fans of opulent California versions."

  • Chardonnay, Banfield Vineyard, Russian River Valley – 2014

    Aromas of lime zest, orange blossom, wet granite and baking spices emanate from the glass. The wine is silky with great density and minerality on the mid-palate. Notes of pear skin, lime curd and lemon butter unfold through the long finish.

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