Wine Enthusiast 96
“Nutty hazelnut and stony minerality combine seamlessly in this impressive white from the coastal appellation. Full bodied, concentrated and structured, it imparts steely, lively flavors of lemon peel and tangerine, finishing with a soft silkiness to the texture and overall balance of weight.”
Wine Spectator 93
"Rich and well-sculpted, with lemon-lime notes to the fresh-cut apple, quince and pear flavors. Minerally midpalate, offering refreshing saline and flinty hints on the structured finish. Drink now through 2024."
Vinous Media 92
"David Ramey's 2016 Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast) is a pretty, open-knit wine that will drink well upon release. Orchard fruit, lemon peel and white flowers all add brightness to this attractive, mid-weight Chardonnay. The 2016 is a wine of total precision and class. In this vintage, the Sonoma Coast Chardonnay is sourced exclusively from Charles Ranch. I loved it for its interplay of fruit and structure -- Antonio Galloni"
Jeb Dunnuck 92
Plenty of white flowers, salty minerality, and lemon curd notes emerge from the 2016 Chardonnay Fort Ross-Seaview, a beautifully balanced, crisp, classic wine from Ramey that will keep for 7-8 years, probably longer. It’s also a great introduction into the style of wines of Dave Ramey."
This property has been in the Martinelli family since the 1800's. In 1982, the vineyard was planted by George Hastings Charles (Lee Jr's maternal grandfather "PaPa"). Lee Jr. has managed the ranch since 1989. The vineyard is two ridges in from the ocean and it's remote location presents unique challenges. Charles Ranch is located on the Bohan Dillon road right down the street from the famous Hirsch Vineyard.
2016 began with another very early bloom, leading to a very early harvest in Sonoma County; our first fruit arrived August 5. During maturation, summer temperatures were warm and steady, with fewer heat spikes than 2015. Three weeks of cool weather in August and September relaxed the pace of harvest, allowing for methodical picking decisions and perfectly developed fruit. Yields were relatively average – down from 2014 and up from 2015.
We press the fruit whole cluster for delicacy. Native-yeast and full native malolactic fermentation take place in barrel, with sur lies bâtonnage. After aging 12 months in 12% new French oak barrels (François Frères and Taransaud Beaune), the Chardonnay was traditionally fined for clarity and texture during the following harvest, and bottled without filtration in January, 2018.
Coming from a special vineyard site, our Sonoma Coast Chardonnay shows great depth of flavor, length of finish, aromatic complexity, and a fine balance between richness and delicacy. This vineyard has a typically cool climate, low vigor soil, and a vine selection that generates small berries, small clusters and inherently low yields.
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A select group of winemakers can be credited with revolutionizing modern day winemaking in California. They are the innovators who, some 20 years ago, brought Old World traditions back to a New World that had thrown in its lot with university scientists to make squeaky clean wines largely devoid of character. The goal of these new wave winemakers was to put terroir back into the bottle and create wines of unique distinction.
David Ramey is widely acknowledged to be among the wine pioneers whose efforts helped raise the bar for all American winemakers and brought California to the forefront of the international wine world. David's groundbreaking work with indigenous yeasts and malolactic and barrel fermentation yielded a new California style that was richer, more lush and silky smooth than previously known. As a result, he created a benchmark style now emulated by many.
David Ramey is certainly one of the best known and most highly regarded winemakers in California. David has finally realized his dream of producing wines under his own name and has devoted himself exclusively to this pursuit.
"A multi-tasker, David Ramey's Healdsburg operation garnered lavish reviews for his Cabernet Sauvignons in issue #186. He also demonstrates a Midas touch with Chardonnay, while continuing to fine tune his Syrah portfolio. In addition, Ramey's consulting business appears to be growing by leaps and bounds, and he has been a major factor in turning around the quality of a number of wineries. The 2007 Ramey Chardonnays are all strong efforts, including the three generic offerings from the Sonoma Coast, Russian River, and Carneros, and his single vineyard efforts from the Hudson, Hyde, and Ritchie vineyards." – Robert Parker, February 2010