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Arista Winery

Owner(s) McWilliams Family
Web site www.aristawinery.com
 
Link to this site
Arista Winery

Arista is a small winery estate founded in 2002 by Al and Janis McWilliams. Located on 36 acres along Westside Road in the Middle Reach sub-region of the Russian River Valley, the property was purchased from a former Proctor & Gamble executive. Arista is a family affair with six members of the McWilliams brood involved. The patriarch is Al McWilliams, a former orthodontist. For nearly a decade the family farmed Pine Mountain Vineyards in the Alexander Valley planted primarily to Cabernet Sauvignon.

The McWilliams couldn't use their name for their winery since E. & J. Gallo owned a similarly named winery in Australia. The letter sent from the E. & J. Gallo attorney to the McWilliams family suggested two alternative names and Arista won.

Currently Arista sources Pinot Noir from several vineyards and appellations including Bacigalupi, Toboni, Mononi, Perli, Ferrington and Ritchie. Arista's vineyard holdings include their 36-acre estate, with four distinct vineyards covering 12 acres planted to heritage and Dijon clones of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. In addition, they acquired the Martinelli Road Vineyard in 2012, which is planted to 5 acres of 130-year-old Zinfandel, 2 acres of 20+-year-old Pinot Noir and 8 acres of 30+-year-old Wente clone Chardonnay. The vineyard manager is Ulises Valdez. A winery is expected to be constructed on the estate property in the future.

The consulting winemaker from 2004 to 2012 was veteran Leslie Sisneros who crafted Pinot Noirs for Kendall Jackson for 13 years. She worked along side young Mark McWilliams, who along with his brother Ben are responsible for running the business. As the brand grew over ten years, there was a need to have a full time winemaker (Leslie did consulting and had her own label as well), so Matt Courtney was brought on as the new winemaker as of January 1, 2013. Courtney had spent the previous eight years at Marcassin Winery. He has a degree in viticulture and enology from UC Davis (2004), joining Marcassin after graduation.

The emphasis is on vineyard-designate wines including Pinot Noir, Zinfandel Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer produced in lots of 80 to 300 cases. Total production is 6,000 cases annually. The wines have received considerable raves from the wine press and this has resulted in a crowded mailing list. Some of the larger production wines are distributed to retail wine stores and small amounts of wine are available in the tasting room.

The winery's beautiful tasting room is surrounded by a serene Japanese garden. Located at 7015 Westside Road, Arista Winery is open daily from 11-5. 707-473-0606.

Reviewed Wines

2012 Arista Bacigalupi Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., pH 3.76, TA 0.55, 168 cases. Released winter 2013. Vineyard is located on Westside Road in the Middle Reach. Old Wente selection and Pommard clone. aged in 25% new, 25% 1-year and 50% 2-3 year French oak barrels. · Lightest and reddest in color of the Pinot Noirs tasted here, with appealing aromas and flavors of cherry, earth, grilled mushroom and sandalwood. Very distinctive, reflecting the terroir of this heritage vineyard. Score: 90. Reviewed January 20, 2014 ARTICLE »

2012 Arista Mononi Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., pH 3.73, TA 0.56, 187 cases. Released winter 2013. Vineyard is located at intersection of Olivet Lane and River Road. Planted in 2003 to Dijon clones 113 and 115. A monopole for Arista. Aged in 40% new, 45% 1-year and 15% 2-3 year French oak barrels. · Aromas of Bing cherry and spice leap from the glass. Flavors of dark cherry, black raspberry, and oakdriven smoke and vanilla. Very forward and silky on the palate with soft tannins. Highly enjoyable. Score: 91. Reviewed January 20, 2014 ARTICLE »

2012 Arista Toboni Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., pH 3.67, TA 0.52, 168 cases. Released spring 2013. Vineyard located off Olivet Lane in the heart of the Russian River Valley across the street from Mononi Vineyard. 15 acres planted to 115, 667, 777 and Pommard. Owned and farmed by Mary and Joe Toboni. Aged in 35% new, 40% 1-year and 25% 2-year French oak barrels. · Aromas of red cherries, blueberries and complimentary oak. Mid weight red and blue fruit flavors with balanced tannins. Score: 89. Reviewed January 20, 2014 ARTICLE »

2012 Arista U.V. Lucky Well Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.45, TA 0.60, 98 cases. Released spring 2013. Vineyard located on the western edge of the Sebastopol hills outside the towns of Graton and Sebastopol. Although a very cool and foggy site, it sits on a knoll that rises above the fog line so the vineyard is exposed to more sunlight. Sourced from a 4-acre section planted in 2008 to Pommard clone and Swan and Calera selections. Planted and farmed by Ulises Valdez. Second vintage. · Highly aromatic with effusive aromas of black cherry pie, fresh raspberries, earthy flora and spice. Earthy and beefy on the palate with plenty of appealing dark red cherry and berry fruits. A relatively big wine with staunch tannins that match well with the luscious fruit. The bright underlying acidity brings the wine to life. Terrific. Score: 93. Reviewed January 20, 2014 ARTICLE »

2011 Arista El Diablo Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.3% alc., pH 3.33, TA 0.68, 119 cases. Released spring 2013. Vineyard planted by Ulises Valdez in 2008 on a ridge off Eastside Road. Old Wente selection grafted onto rootstock 420a, 4’ x 6’ spacing. Native fermentation, 100% MLF, aged 15 months in 30% new French oak barrels. · Light, crisp and clean with aromas and flavors of green apple, citrus, and roasted nuts. Perfect aperitif or accompaniment to shellfish. Score: 87. Reviewed January 20, 2014 ARTICLE »

2011 Arista Harper’s Rest Estate Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.76, TA 0.57, 170 cases. Released fall 2013. Aged in 30% new, 50% 1-year and 20% 2-year French oak barrels. Vineyard is named to honor Ruben Harper, a pioneer farmer who settled in the mid-1800s on the property that is now the Arista Estate. Ruben is buried under a California bay laurel tree in the middle of the 2-acre vineyard. Ruben’s headstone and original rock wall surrounding his grave site still stand (see photo below). River bed soils, lowyielding Pommard clone. · Light reddish-purple color in the glass. Lovely aromas of cherries, rose petals, peat and spice. Relatively delicate and light in weight, but the core of spiced cherry and raspberry fruits is quite flavorful. Score: 89. Reviewed January 20, 2014 ARTICLE »

2011 Arista Ritchie Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.3% alc., pH 3.50, TA 0.57, 213 cases, $N/A. Kent Ritchie has owned and farmed his namesake vineyard since the early 1970s. The soils are well-drained Goldridge type and the clones are predominately old Wente selection of Chardonnay. · Mild yellow-gold color and clear in the glass. Highly aromatic with vibrant scents of fresh lemon, baked apple, peach and burnt caramel. Slightly creamy and very flavorful on the palate with tastes of lemon, baked apple, crème brûlée and toasty oak. A fruit-driven wine that still offers some wet stone minerality in the background, especially on the finish. Very enjoyable. Score: 90. Reviewed December 18, 2013 ARTICLE »

2011 Arista Ritchie Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.3% alc., pH 3.50, TA 0.57, 213 cases. Released fall 2013. Aged in 20% 1-year, 60% 2-year and 20% 3-year French oak barrels. One of the Russian River Valley’s iconic vineyards owned and farmed by Kent Ritchie. Located at the intersection of Eastside Road and Trenton Road, the vineyard is exposed to the cooling effect of coastal fog yet receives ample sunlight. Planted primarily to Old Wente selection in 1971-1972. · The same planted selections as the El Diablo, but the wine is noticeably fatter and richer. Vibrant scents of fresh lemon, baked apple, peach and burnt caramel. Slightly creamy, with flavors of lemon, baked apple, peach and spice. Fruit-driven, but still offering wet stone minerality in the background, most evident on the finish. Score: 90. Reviewed January 20, 2014 ARTICLE »

2011 Arista Two Birds Estate Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.75, TA 0.58, 195 cases. Released fall 2013. Aged in 25% new, 50% 1-year and 25% 2-year French oak barrels. Vineyard named after proprietors Al and Janis McWilliams who call each other “bird” and live adjacent these vines. Planted in 2007, the 3-acre vineyard contains Pommard clone, Swan and Calera selections. Soils are a well-drained mixture of loam and clay formed from weathered sandstone. Each year select barrels are chosen for the final Two Birds Vineyard bottling. · More structured and intensely flavored than the Harper’s Rest and not as forward. The big-boy fruit veers to the dark red and purple side (black cherry, black raspberry, plum) and is accented by a meaty and bay leaf note. The intense finish is especially noteworthy, lasting what seems like a minute. I would have liked to spend a few hours with this wine to experience it as it unfolded. Score: 94. Reviewed January 20, 2014 ARTICLE »

2011 Arista Ferrington Anderson Valley Gewürztraminer

14.1% alc., pH 3.38, TA 0.58, 225 cases, $28. I don’t usually review this variety, but Arista’s version is a winner and I would like to spread the love. One of the best Alsatian styled Gewürztraminer wines among the very few offered from California. The Ferrington Vineyard is owned by Kurt and heather Schoeneman who purchased the vineyard in 1997. It is planted to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Gewürztraminer, Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc, rooted in decomposed sandstone and clay soils. This wine is 85% tank fermented and 15% barrel fermented. · Pale gold color and clear in the glass. Very fragrant with typical aromas of tropical fruits, lychee and spice. Delicious flavors of mango, crabapple, lychee and pear with a sense of minerality in the background. Slightly viscous, lively and bone dry. Reviewed July 23, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Arista Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.67, TA 0.57, 850 cases, $35. Aged in 5% new, 17% 1-year, and 78% 2-3-year-old French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Beguiling and uplifting nose offering scents of cherry pie glaze, vanilla and spice. Hearty core of black cherry fruit with an earthy, charred, grilled fruit riff. Medium weighted with a firm, wellproportioned tannic backbone, and lasting flavors on the somewhat gregarious finish. Good. Reviewed July 23, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Arista Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.77, TA 0.55, 289 cases, $45. Grapes from Arista’s estate vineyards and fruit sourced from the Toboni and Mononi vineyards. Aged in 14% new, 21% 1- year, and 64% 2-3-year-old French oak barrels. · Moderate dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Bright aromas of Bing cherries, raspberries and baking spices. Discreetly concentrated flavors of cherries, cranberries and red plums with a touch of oak and cola. Nicely composed and very approachable now. Good. Reviewed July 23, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Arista Longbow Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.77, TA 0.55, $48. Aged in 46% new, 23% 1-year, and 31% 2-3-year-old French oak barrels. This bottling is chosen from Arista’s most distinct Russian River Valley lots and it shows it. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Love the nose. Hi-tone aromas of darker stone and berry fruits, brimming with freshness. Delicious essence of black cherries with a hint of sassafras, dark chocolate and cola, offering impressive mid palate intensity and finishing power, yet easy to drink. Needs another few years to fully integrate the oak and tannins. The best Longbow bottling I can remember and recommended. Very good (+). Reviewed July 23, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Arista Perli Vineyard Mendocino Ridge Pinot Noir

$52. Tasted at the winery. · A stunning wine that really made me sit up in my chair. Demure aromas of oak-kissed cherries with discreetly concentrated flavors of dark cherries, dark berries, spice, and subtle oak, wrapped in soft, silky tannins. Elegant, polished, and highly approachable now, the impeccable balance will lead to further rewards in the future. Like the 2009 vintage of Perli Vineyard, a wine to treasure. Reviewed June 24, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Arista Perli Vineyard Mendocino Ridge Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.80, TA 0.60, 240 cases, $52. Released summer 2012. The Perli Vineyard was planted in 2001 and is owned and farmed by Steve Alden. 2200 feet elevation, about 6 miles inland. Aged in 40% new, 20% 12-year and 40% 2-3-year-old French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Very shy initially, opening up beautifully over time to reveal seductive aromas of dark berry jam, pumpkin pie spice, and raisin. Dark red fruits including strawberries and raspberries are featured with a little blueberry and pomegranate in the mix. A hint of clove and oak adds interest. Elegant and creamy in the mouth with good tannin integration. Very good. Reviewed December 8, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Arista Ferrington Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.58, TA 0.61, 216 cases, $58. Released fall 2012. From a 25-acre vineyard just off Highway 128 in Booneville. 100% Pommard clone. Aged in 45% new, 11% 1-year and 44% 2-3-year-old French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose starts out with aromas of cherries, cherry skins, stem and smoky oak, evolving over time to reveal aromas of cherries, parchment and dried herbs. Appealing core of black cherry fruit with an earthy, herbal underbelly. Tastes of the soil. Lovely fruit backed by very firm tannins, finishing with a touch of citrusy acid. Still good the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Good. Reviewed December 8, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Arista Mononi Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.75, TA 0.53, 240 cases, $58. Released fall 2012. A 10-year-old vineyard planted to Dijon 113 and 115. Aged in 40% new, 50% 1-year and 10% 2-3-year-old French oak barrels. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. An earthy, savory wine offering aromas of dark berry preserves, herbs and oak. Moderately rich core of blackberries, black raspberries and black plums. Juicy, with good structural bones, and a long fruit and oak driven finish. Pushes the ripeness envelope but never crosses over. Very good. Reviewed December 8, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Arista Harper’s Rest Estate Grown Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.77, TA 0.60, 90 cases, $60. Released fall 2012. 2.1-acre vineyard planted in 2007. Clay loam soils. Pommard clone on 101-14 rootstock, 3.5’ x 7’, yields 1.25 tons per acre. Aged in 17% new, 33% 1-year and 50% 2-3-year-old French oak barrels. · Medium reddish-purple robe in the glass. The nose starts out promising with aromas of fresh dark cherries and raspberries but becomes somewhat dull over time with hints of briar and stem. Black cherry and dark red berry flavors are featured with a subtle green note in the background. Moderately intense with a creamy texture and long finish. This wine should improve over time. Good. Reviewed December 8, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Arista Toboni Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.76, TA 0.54, 250 cases, $60. Released spring 2012. 15-acre vineyard planted to Dijon 115, 667 and 777, and Pommard 5. Mary and Joe Toboni are fourth generation San Franciscans whose roots can be traced back to San Francisco as early as the 1870s and to Sonoma County before the 1920s. Aged in 41% new, 33% 1-year and 26% 2-3-year-old French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of very ripe Bing cherries, black raspberries, and grilled plums. Deep black cherry and dark berry flavor with an underpinning of toasted oak and cola. Moderately rich with well balanced tannins and a silky mouth feel. Needs more time to shed some of the toasty oak on the finish. More intense cherry flavor the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Very good. Reviewed December 8, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Arista Two Birds Estate Grown Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.72, TA 0.58, 170 cases, $68. Released fall 2012. 3.1-acre vineyard planted in 2007. Clay loam soils. Pommard clone, Swan and Calera selections on 101-14 rootstock, 3.5’ x7’, yields 1.25 tons per acre. Aged in 37% new, 13% 1-year and 50% 2-3-year-old French oak barrels. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Aroma of dark berry pie filling. Not particularly expressive now, with modest flavors of an array of dark red and black berries. A little earthy, a little spicy. The most tannic of all the Arista Pinot Noirs reviewed here. Slightly more definition of fruit, more finish and more character than the other estate wine, Harper’s Rest. Needs time to soften the tannins and come together. Good (+). Reviewed December 8, 2012 ARTICLE »

2009 Arista Hawk’s View Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

220 cases. From own-rooted vines planted in the early 1990s owned and farmed by the Kemp family. Clones 115 and 2A. · Crisp and clean with bright berry aromas and flavors, supple tannins and good integration of oak. Finishes with hitone acidity. Reviewed August 13, 2011 ARTICLE »

2009 Arista Two Birds Vineyard Estate Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

First harvest from the estate vineyard. · Alluring aromas of Bing cherries which pick up intensity with swirling. Intense and fruit-driven with a rich core of cherry fruit, prominent cola flavor, brown spices and notable tannin. Typical of a young vine Pinot. Reviewed August 13, 2011 ARTICLE »

2009 Arista Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.73, TA .65, 265 cases, $34. Released spring 2011. Aged in 16% new, 25& 1-year-old and 59% 2-3-year-old French oak barrels. · Moderately light in color in the glass. Fresh aromas of red berries and plums, forest floor and oak cask. Very easy drinking with tasty array of bright red Pinot fruits and a hint of spice and mocha. The tannins are supple, there is a lively grip of acidity, and the seamless texture delivers considerable appeal. Good (+). Reviewed August 13, 2011 ARTICLE »

2009 Arista Mendocino Ridge Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.75, TA .59, 277 cases, $38. Released spring 2011. Sourced from Perli Vineyard. Aged in 40% new, 17% 1-year-old and 43% 2-3-year-old French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass with a slight cloudy haze. Plenty of dark red stone fruits on the hi-tone nose with hints of summer herbs and spice. In the mouth, the lithe and seductive array of blue and dark red fruit is delicious augmented by a satiny mouth feel, supple tannins and a discreetly fruity and long lasting finish. Similar to the Perli Vineyard bottling (both wines are from this source) but lacks some of its nuance and exoticism. Very Good. Reviewed August 13, 2011 ARTICLE »

2009 Arista Mendocino Ridge Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $38. · Deep, dark reddish-purple color in the glass.Complex aroma profile including notes of blueberries, wooded forest, smoke stack, and oak. Lightly styled with delicate flavors of red fruits back by savory herbs. Lifted by bright acidity, the fruit shows some persistence on the finish. Mild tannins make for easy drink ability. Good (+). Reviewed June 24, 2012 ARTICLE »

2009 Arista Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.84, TA .56, 739 cases, $44. Released spring 2011. Aged in 6% new, 15% 1-year-old and 79% 2-3-year-old French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Lovely perfume of black cherries, black raspberries, spice, rose petal and stem leading to a moderately rich core of black cherry fruit with a slight oaky, earthy bent. The tannins are slippery and the wine is soft in the mouth. Doesn’t excite, but grows on you over time in the glass. Good. Reviewed August 13, 2011 ARTICLE »

2009 Arista Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 739 cases, $44. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Ripe and slightly confected dark stone fruit and berry aromas with a slight oak-driven spice and smoke accent. Modestly weighted deep red cherry and berry flavors that are slightly cooked, exhibiting silky tannins, finishing a tad dilute and short. Not as enjoyable as the bottle reviewed over two months ago. Decent. Reviewed November 2, 2011 ARTICLE »

2009 Arista “Longbow” Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.75, TA .53, 493 cases, $48. Released spring 2011. Aged in 41% new, 18% 1-year-old and 41% 2-3-year-old French oak barrels. · Darkly colored. A thoroughly enjoyable wine that is distinct among the Arista lineup for its richness of fruit. Aromas of blackberries and cassis, brown spice, anise and old oak cask. Moderately dense and mouth coating flavors of black plums and blackberries with complimentary underpinnings of savory herbs and oak in the background. A fruit-centric wine that retains finesse and agility and is thoroughly enjoyable for its muscular style. Reviewed August 13, 2011 ARTICLE »

2009 Arista Perli Vineyard Mendocino Ridge Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.75, TA .59, 177 cases, $52. Released summer 2011. This vineyard was planted in 2003 and is owned and farmed by Steve Alden. Located at 2300 feet above the maritime fog line and about 6 miles inland. A narrow diurnal swing means the grapes never fully shut down. Yields are very small. Clones 667 and 777. Aged in 25% new, 25% 1-year-old and 50% 2-3-year-old French oak barrels. · This wine is a perfect example of why there is so much buzz about this relative new appellation for Pinot Noir. Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. A plethora of dark red berry fruit dominates the nose with lesser contributions of baking spices and sandalwood. The judiciously intense blue and dark red fruit has a wild, exotic quality that sneaks up on you and demands your interest as nuances appear over time. It reminds of gazing afar at a beautiful woman in a classy dress. Once you get up close, you notice the beading, embroidery and touch of lace. A very distinctive hi-collared Pinot Noir. Reviewed August 13, 2011 ARTICLE »

2009 Arista Perli Vineyard Mendocino Ridge Pinot Noir

14.3% alc, $52. · Dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Nicely arrayed aromas of black cherries, shaved oak and vanillin. Moderately intense and flavorful dark red and purple fruits supported by mild tannins, layered with spice and soil-driven notes, finishing with unbelievable length and intensity. A seamless wine in perfect balance that has eye-opening mid palate pop, extraordinary mouth coating staying power, and memorable finishing strength. Reviewed June 24, 2012 ARTICLE »

2009 Aristra La Cruz Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.75, TA .56, 318 cases, $52. Released spring 2011. From Keller Estates La Cruz Vineyard in the Petaluma Gap. Aged in 15% new, 39% 1- year-old, and 46% 2-3-year-old French oak barrels. · Dark reddish-purple robe. Shy, but attractive perfume of darker berries, spice and oak picking up interest over time in the glass leading to flavors that reflect the nose. The wine offers a juicy, crisp mouth feel, supple tannins, and impressive persistence on the highly aromatic finish. Beautifully balanced and very charming. Very Good (+). Reviewed August 13, 2011 ARTICLE »

2009 Arista Woodruff Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.65, TA .57, 60 cases, $55. Released summer 2011. A one-time bottling. This vineyard is located in Corralitos, five miles inland from Monterey Bay and adjacent Windy Oaks Vineyard. Originally known as the Matteson Vineyard, it was planted in 1978 to a now forgotten selection of Pinot Noir. Peter and Barbara Woodruff acquired the vineyard in 2001 and dedicated themselves to preserving this venerable vineyard. Own-rooted. Yields are about .75 tons per acre. Aged in 33% new and 67% 2-3-year-old French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Lovely aromas of black cherries and black raspberries initially, fading a bit to reveal notes of exotic spices, stem and rose petals. The wine features layered darker fruits, particularly black cherries, that are modest in concentration with an oak influence that tends to fade over time in the glass. Nicely balanced with supple tannins and a velvety mouth feel. Doesn’t emote, but grows on you over time in the glass. Needs more time to come together. Good (+). Reviewed August 13, 2011 ARTICLE »

2009 Arista Ferrington Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.56, TA .62, 213 cases, $56. Released summer 2011. Tucked away off of Highway 128 in Boonville, this 25-acre site is planted to multiple clones of Pinot Noir. Originally planted in the late 1960s, additional plantings occurred in 1998 and more recently. This wine is 100% Pommard clone. Aged in 44% new, 22% 1-year-old and 34% 2-3- year-old French oak barrels. · While the Perli Vineyard Pinot Noir seduces you, the Ferrington Vineyard Pinot Noir overwhelms you. Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Nicely composed aromas of black raspberries and blackberries touched by oak and loam picking up interest over time in the glass. Endowed with rich tasting earthy black plum and blackberry fruit wrapped in supple tannins. The wine grabs hold of the mid palate, surrounds it and refuses to let go, before finally conceding to a Grand Cru ending that is like a three-hour movie you don't want to end. A beautiful representation of this distinguished vineyard. Reviewed August 13, 2011 ARTICLE »

2009 Arista Bacigalupi Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.82, TA .52, 106 cases, $58. Released spring 2011. Plantings date from the early 1960s with cuttings from Carl Wente in the Livermore Valley. 2 tons of old Wente Selection and 2 tons of Pommard clone Pinot Noir. Aged in 17% new, 33% 1-year-old, and 50% 2-3-year-old French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Haunting aromas of cherry pie filling, damp earth and stem. As typical with this vineyard, the cherry fruit has a mild herbal, tar and tobacco riff. Soft and elegant in the mouth with fine-grain powdery tannins. A unique expression of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. Good (+). Reviewed August 13, 2011 ARTICLE »

2009 Arista Bacigalupi Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.82, TA 0.52, 106 cases, $58. Combination of old Wente Selection and Pommard clone. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Appealing aromas of dark red pie cherries, fennel and Italian seasoning. Very savory on the palate with a medium weight core of ripe Bing cherries, cola and Chinese 5-spice flavors wrapped in soft tannins. Picks up interest and intensity over time in the glass. The velvety texture is very seductive. Very good. Reviewed March 21, 2012 ARTICLE »

2009 Arista Mononi Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.72, TA .55, 310 cases, $60. Released summer 2011. Located at the intersection of Olivet Lane and River Road, this 10-year-old vineyard was planted to Dijon clones 113 and 115 which perform well at this very cool site. Aged in 38% new, 23% 1-year-old and 38% 2-3-yearold French oak barrels. · Lightly colored in the glass. I couldn’t quit smelling this wine with its gorgeous aromas of black cherry pie filling. Discreetly concentrated and cherry-driven with added flavor nuances of baking spices, savory herbs and oak. Velvety smooth and elegant with welcoming restraint. A complete wine that is beautifully crafted. Reviewed August 13, 2011 ARTICLE »

2008 Arista Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.80, 920 cases, $34. Released spring 2010. Aged in 12% new French oak, 24% 1 year oak and 64% seasoned oak. · The vibrant aromas of dark berries and cherries, oak and mushroom really grab your attention. Tasty core of berries and plums with a sidecar of tea and earth flavors. The fruit flavors have impressive intensity and persistence, and the silky texture adds to the appeal. This is a wine that grabs your senses and holds on. Good. Reviewed December 14, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 Arista Longbow Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.80, 430 cases, $44. Released spring 2010. Sold out. Aged in 65% new French oak. · The nose is closed for business with oak at the forefront and only a hint of mixed purple berry and dark stone fruit peaking out over time in the glass. A mediumweighted fruit-driven wine with flavors of black cherries, black currants and plums veering to the ripe side with oak in the background. Silky smooth with mild tannins. Needs more time. Tasted twice. Good. Reviewed December 14, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 Arista Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.80, 616 cases, $44. Released spring 2010. Aged in 40% new French oak barrels. 92% Russian River Valley, 8% Sonoma Coast. · Shy aromas of black cherries and red berries picking up some intensity over time in the glass. Earth-kissed black cherry and berry flavors with a slight oak and tobacco edge. On the lean side, but has some charming silkiness on the palate. A reliable daily drinker. Decent. Reviewed December 14, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 Arista Bacigalupi Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., $56. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Demure aromas of spiced Bing cherries picking up more of a savory, leafy bent in the glass over time. Discreet array of medium-weighted dark red Pinot fruit flavors with notes of herbs and mushroom. A relatively simple wine now with impeccably balanced tannins and acidity that is youthful, and will benefit from more development in the bottle. Good. Reviewed November 24, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 Arista Bacigalupi Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.52, 220 cases, $56. Released fall 2010. Helen and Charles Bacigalupi’s first plantings in the Middle Reach of the Russian River Valley date from the early 1960s. Carl Wente sold the Bacigalupi family Pinot Noir cuttings from his vineyard in the Livermore Valley. This wine contains the old Wente Selection Pinot Noir and Pommard clone from this historic vineyard. Aged in 50% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Demure aromas of spiced Bing cherries picking up more of a savory, leafy bent over time in the glass. Discreet array of medium-weighted dark red Pinot fruit flavors with notes of herbs and mushroom. A relatively simple and youthful wine now, but with impeccably balanced tannins and acidity, should age nicely in the bottle. Good. Reviewed December 14, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 Arista La Cruz Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.68, 258 cases, $56. Released fall 2010. From the southernmost end of the Sonoma Coast appellation. Plantings here were among the first in the Petaluma Valley dating to 1994. Aged in 50% new French oak barrels. · Seductive aromas of fresh black cherries with hints of oak and spice box. A gorgeous wine in the mouth with bright flavors of black cherry and black raspberry with a complimentary underpinning of oak spice and toast. Perfect harmony creating a wine that urges you to take another sip. I would love some duck confit with this beauty. Reviewed December 14, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 Arista Mononi Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.63, 224 cases, $56. Released fall 2010. From a 10-year-old vineyard planted to Dijon clones 113 and 115. Aged in 50% new French oak barrels. · Stunning and nuanced aromatic profile featuring spiced berries, rose petals and violets picking up intensity with time in the glass. This wine has all the charm and delicacy one could asked for combined with a tasty and hearty core of cherry, strawberry and cola flavors, harmoniously supported by soft tannins and bright acidity. The whole package. Reviewed December 14, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 Arista Toboni Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.63, 256 cases, $56. Released fall 2010. This 15-acre vineyard is located just off Olivet Lane and is planted to Dijon 115, 667, 777 and Pommard 5 clones. Aged in 50% new French oak barrels. · Brooding nose with scents of dark fruits, raisin and cigar box. The most intensely fruity and tannic wine in the Arista lineup but retaining an appealing silky mouth feel. The berry, cassis, and plum flavors veer to the ripe and sweet side with oak char providing a backup note. Not shy, and quite flavorful. Very Good Reviewed December 16, 2010 ARTICLE »

2006 Arista Longbow Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $36. · Moderately light crimson in color. Very appealing aromas of fresh red berries, baking spices and a hint of oak vanillin. A gentle wine with admirable finesse offering red berry flavors that are lightly spiced with a silky texture and some finishing persistence. Very pinotypical. Reviewed November 2, 2008 ARTICLE »

2005 Arista Toboni Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $50. For comparison purposes I sampled this wine at the same time to compare with the Waxwing. · Oak char dominates the nose and the delicate red fruits. A silky wine that drifts over the palate with fruit that is clearly stellar, but the oak is overwhelming. I prefer the Waxwing for its prettier fruit expression. Reviewed April 18, 2009 ARTICLE »