Tasting at Arista

Just about halfway between the town of Healdsburg and the Hacienda Bridge in Forestville is Arista Winery. 36 acres in what is known as the Middle Reach of the Russian River Valley. Here they focus on making exceptional Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines from their estate grapes and from a handful of the areas finest growers.

The McWilliams family and winemaker Matt Courtney are responsible for this outstanding property and fine wine vintages but they don’t take all the credit. They let you know about all the folks working with them that make this place and the wines so amazing.

Luis Pires hosted us at one of Arista’s outdoor venues under the oaks. We had the perfect day to visit during harvest. It was amazingly quiet, relaxing and we shared in some good conversation with our host.

We started our tasting off with the 2019 Russian River Valley Chardonnay, which is a blend of grapes from three vineyards in the valley, and followed it with a 2019 single vineyard Chardonnay from the Dempster’s historic Banfield Vineyard.

The Pinot Noirs we tasted were the 2019 Sonoma Coast, the 2019 Russian River Valley, and the 2019 Toboni Vineyard. Luis was also able to pour for us the 2018 Ferrington Vineyard.

This is a very comfortable winery. It’s friendly and unassuming, an unexpected pleasure when you take in all the awards and high critic’s scores their wines consistently receive.

We did not leave empty handed. Off with us went bottles of the Sonoma Coast and the Ferrington Vineyard.

Many thanks to Luis for giving us such an interesting tasting and a very special thanks to the McWilliams family for stewarding such a beautiful farm on Sonoma’s Westside Road.


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