As we are firmly ensconced in the winter months, most wine drinkers prefer a nice glass of red paired with heartier meals or to drink on its own over lighter white wines that pair better with warm weather meals. However, there are definitely some whites that can brave the chilly winter temperatures as well as stand up to cold weather meals. This wine, the 2020 Waypoint Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay from Ritchie Vineyard, located in the iconic Russian River area of California, is one of these wines.
This chardonnay is a splurge, but it is a splurge well worth it. It has extremely delicate notes of butter and oak. While there are plenty of California chardonnays that are both overpriced and over oaked, this is not one of them. It absolutely does not fall into the trap of tasting like movie theatre popcorn flooded in fake butter. This wine is beautiful and elegant. It’s like a warm hug without being overbearing or clunky.
According to the wine site, the Ritchie vineyard is planted with 40-plus year-old Wente clone vines that are carefully cared for by Kent Ritchie. The age and clone cause the fruit to retain much of the natural minerality and acidity of the Russian River Valley so the wines are fresh and vibrant. This brightness is balanced with 62% new French oak barrels and aged it for 18 months after barrel fermentation.
On the nose, one can find brioche, toast, and hazelnut with the telltale Chardonnay tropical flavors. Don’t let the oak fool you because the mouthfeel offers a crisp clean minerality, bright acidity, and citrus tones.
This wine is so silky smooth and well balanced it will appeal to not only all types of Chardonnay drinkers, but also to all types of wine drinkers. It is truly crowd-pleasing, but you may not want to share.
Retails for $60.