Jeb Dunnuck 93
"Another gem in the lineup, the 2016 Zinfandel Old Vines comes from sites in the Russian River Valley. Ripe, classic Zinfandel notes of red plums, cedar, sandalwood, pepper, and flowers all emerge from this medium-bodied, fresh, vibrant effort that has fine tannins and impeccable balance. It’s seriously good and a great value. Drink it over the coming 2-4 years."
Wine Advocate 91-93
"The 2016 Zinfandel comes from vines in the Alegria vineyard planted in 1910 and 1950. This very old vineyard is planted to many varieties, and the blend here is about 78% Zinfandel, 10% Alicante and 10% Petite Sirah, with the remainder a compilation of about a dozen other varieties. Medium to deep ruby-purple in color, it has a nose of yellow peach, boysenberry, blueberry compote, black cherry jam and spiced warm red berries. Medium to full-bodied, it offers concentrated tricolor fruit in the mouth, firm tannins to frame and just enough acidity on the long finish. 723 cases produced."
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.
A unique blend of grape varieties, This wine is 78% Zinfandel, 10% Alicante Bouschet, 10% Petite Sirah and a 2% composite of Sangiovese, Carignane, Trousseau, Petite Bouschet, Syrah, Beclan, Tannat, Peloursin, Graciano, Plavac Mali, Palomino and Monbadon from a heritage vineyard, half planted 125 years ago and the other half 65 years ago. The way the vineyard was planted back in the late 1800s, the various grape varieties are intermixed within the vineyard, so everything is harvested together and co-fermented. The wine was fermented with native yeast and aged sur lie in neutral oak barrels for seven months.
Sidebar means “the bar adjacent to the main bar” or “the sidelight of a main story.” It is the B-Side to David Ramey’s Greatest Hits album.
This is a new project from David Ramey & Ramey Wine Cellars focused on fun and diverse grape varieties. Apart from the dedication to deliciousness and quality, sidebar remains distinct from Ramey in its varieties and tempo, to be considered under a different set of values. Sidebar wines are invitingly fresh and satisfying in their youth: brightness is key. These wines also play into David Ramey’s history with Sauvignon Blanc as the flagship. David made some of the most well-known Sauvignon Blanc in California’s history at Matanzas Creek and Chalk Hill back in the 80s and 90s.
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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