2017 Arista Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay
“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.
“Ritchie Vineyard is a magical place for Chardonnay. Home to one of the oldest plantings of Chardonnay in the Russian River Valley, this south-facing site has become famous for producing wines that simultaneously possess both wonderful richness and a lifted freshness. The 2017 Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay is a particularly ethereal example of that. Perfectly transparent, and pale gold in color, the wine is quiet and elegant at first but then builds as it opens up in the glass. A nose of panna cotta and yellow flowers is paired with flavors of white peach nectar, toasted hazelnut, grilled pineapple, and lemon curd. The palate is silky and seamless with a steely minerality adding texture to the finish. Peak drinking window: 2020 through 2028.”
“From one of the Grand Cru sites in the Russian River (although it’s a big, diverse site), the 2017 Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard saw the standard 12 months in one-third new French oak followed by six months in stainless steel. Buttered pineapple, nectarines, honeyed flowers, almond paste, toasted bread, and honeysuckle notes all emerge from the glass, and this beauty is full-bodied on the palate and flawlessly balanced. The purity of fruit is just about off the charts, and it has good acidity as well as a great mid-palate. This quintessential Russian River Chardonnay shows the classic power and richness of this appellation while also possessing freshness, elegance, and balance. Hats off to Matt Courtney for another tremendous wine.” – Jeb Dunnuck