Chardonnay, Ritchie Vineyard, Russian River Valley – 2016
Kent Ritchie has owned and farmed his namesake vineyard since the early 1970’s. The vineyard is located just off of River Road at the intersection of Eastside Road and Trenton Road. The location is unique because it sits on a bench at the confluence of the Russian River, the Santa Rosa Plain, and the Laguna de Santa Rosa. Each of these unique geological characteristics influences the “terroir” of the Ritchie Vineyard. The vineyard’s proximity to the Pacific Ocean exposes it to the cool effect of the coastal fog yet at the same time the site’s location allows for ample sunlight once the fog has burned off around noon. The well-drained, sandy, Goldridge Soils are ideal for growing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Finally, the vineyard is planted to, predominately, the Old Wente Selection of Chardonnay which is highly coveted for its low yields and ability to produce an intensely flavored and aromatic wine. Kent Ritchie is truly a great guy and this is absolutely one of the grand vineyards of the Russian River Valley. It’s an honor to work with such an iconic vineyard.
- Vineyards: Ritchie Vineyard
- Vineyard Owner: Kent Ritchie
- Appellation: Russian River Valley
- Vine Age: 40-45 years
- Clones: Old Wente Selection
- Soil: Well-drained, sandy, Goldridge Soils
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: 10-11 months in barrel followed by 4-6 months in stainless steel tan
- Varietal Composition: 100% Chardonnay
- Alcohol: 14.6%
A rich, layered wine which showcases the quality of one of the Russian River Valley’s Grand Cru vineyards. On the nose, the wine displays aromas of wet granite, brioche, orange zest, lemon oil, white flowers and sweet cream. On the palate, the wine is silky and rich, with notes of pear nectar, lemon butter, mango and panna cotta. The wine has an intensity that builds on the palate for several seconds, peaking with an electric acidity. This Chardonnay has incredible density and length, with layers of flavors unfolding on the palate for a full minute.
Arista Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard – 2016 – Jeb Dunnuck – 99 Points
From a famous site in the Russian River, the 2016 Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard spent a year in one-third new French oak followed by six months in tank. With a ting of green in its gold color, it has more Chablis-like lemon drops, white flowers, and lemongrass aromatics to go with a marine-like salinity and obvious crushed rock minerality. It's rich, deep, and concentrated on the palate, with a beautiful texture, as well as bright, integrated acid.
Arista Winery Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Ritchie Vineyard – 2016 – The Wine Advocate – 95+ Points
From 43-year-old vines planted to Old Wente clones, the 2016 Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard features crushed oyster shell and saline to begin, with Bosc pear, sliced quince and toasted almond notes. Medium to full-bodied, it's minerally in the mouth with a core of fresh fruits, very juicy acidity and a very long, honey-nut finish.