Wine Enthusiast 95
"This is such a fine appellation wine, punching well above its price point in quality and memorability, sourced from such stellar sites as Westside Farms, Rochioli Allen and others. Stone, melon and Meyer lemon highlight a fresh core of acidity that's both steely and focused, with floral jasmine nipping around the edges."
Vinous Media 93
"The 2017 Chardonnay (Russian River Valley) is another stellar wine, especially within its peer group. Fresh, nuanced and super-expressive, the 2017 is loaded with character. The 2017 is really vibrant today. Lemon confit, flowers and mint add to the wine's energy. -- Antonio Galloni"
Jeb Dunnuck 93
"Golden fruits, caramelized pineapple, spice, and some salty mineral notes all emerge from the 2017 Chardonnay Russian River Valley, one of the more upfront, approachable, fruit-driven wines in the lineup. Nevertheless, it has the purity of fruit, balance, and length that's shared by all of these Chardonnay from Ramey. It's a great introduction into the wines of this estate and ideal for drinking while you give the single vineyard releases bottle age."
Wine Spectator 90
"Firm acidity supports freshly cut green apple and lemon-lime flavors in this zesty style. Notes of dried tarragon show on the finish. Drink now through 2023. 8,289 cases made.Kim Marcus"
This is the 2nd vintage to come exclusively from Martinellis Charles Ranch vineyard in the Fort Ross Seaview AVA in the Sonoma Coast. Charles Ranch has been farmed by the Martinelli family since the late 1800s. In 1982 George Hastings Charles (Lee Martinelli Jrs maternal grandfather planted the vineyard and Lee Martinelli Jr. has managed the vineyard since 1989. The vineyard is located two ridges away from the Pacific ocean and is planted to Old Wente clones on AXR rootstocks in thin and well drained Goldridge sandstone and Josephine shale-stone soils.
2017 began with a very wet winter. The summer was mild until a significant heatwave around Labor Day sent winemakers and growers scrambling to pick the first wave of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. After the heat wave, temperatures were warm and steady, allowing winemakers to make picking decisions based on optimal fruit maturity rather than impending weather. Our harvest started Aug 21st with the final Merlot from Carneros arriving on October 10th. Yields were very close to projections while fruit quality ranged from great to exceptional, with well-preserved acids, great color and good varietal expression.
We press the whole clusters for delicacy. Native-yeast and full native malolactic fermentation take place in barrel, with sur lies btonnage. After aging 12 months in 25 new French oak barrels (Franois Frres, Taransaud Beaune),and 5 Concrete egg, the Chardonnay was traditionally fined for clarity during the following harvest and bottled without filtration in January 2019.
Coming from special vineyard sites, our Chardonnays show great depth of flavor, length of finish, aromatic complexity, and a fine balance between richness and delicacy. Typically, the climate is cool and the soil vigor low, producing graceful yet vibrant wines.
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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