Arista Winery Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2017
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Moving to the reds, the 2017 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley was all destemmed (as are all the Pinot Noirs here) and was brought up 11 months in just 20% new French oak. Its ruby/plum and translucent hue is followed by a savory nose of mulled black cherry and currant fruits interwoven with lots of spice, forest floor, earth, and bouquet garni. Textured and medium-bodied, with good acidity and great balance, I suspect it's going to benefit from a year or two of bottle age and should have a decade or more of overall longevity.
Light to medium ruby, the 2017 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley is scented of cranberry sauce, dried lavender, tangerine peel, tea leaves and earth. Medium-bodied, it offers bright, spicy fruits with a soft frame and juicy finish.
Arista Winery was founded by Al and Janis McWilliams in 2002 with a mission to craft artisanal, site-driven Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley. From the beginning, the McWilliams have firmly believed that the finest examples of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are produced in small lots. This belief has led to an emphasis on quality over quantity and a determination to discover and develop unique vineyard sites that reflect the distinct characteristics of the Russian River Valley. Arista is committed to sustainable farming practices. They work closely with local growers who share the dedication to sustainability in Arista carries out in their vineyards. Very little is done to manipulate the vineyard sites but instead strive to preserve each vineyard's natural qualities.
While the Russian River Valley is a large appellation with multiple climate zones and soil types, it is best known for cool-climate varieties, with Pinot Noir as the most celebrated. The grapes benefit from a reliable late afternoon flow of Pacific Ocean fog through the Petaluma Gap and along the Russian River Valley that ensures slow and steady ripening and the preservation of grape acidity. Today many of California’s most highly regarded Pinot Noir vineyards are in the Russian River Valley, along with its sub-appellation, Green Valley.
Historically Russian River Valley Pinot Noirs had bright red fruit and delicate earthy, mineral notes. But changes in viticultural and winemaking practices have led to stylistic changes in some of the region’s wines. Adjustments to canopy management, among other techniques, have resulted in riper fruit and bolder wines as well. These show flavors of black cherry, blackberry, cola, spice and darker, loamy earth tones, accenting traditional Pinot Noir notes of strawberry, raspberry and light cherry.