2018 Ramey Chardonnay Sonoma Coast Fort Ross - Seaview
Wine Details for 2018 Ramey Chardonnay Sonoma Coast Fort Ross - Seaview
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: If you're in the mood for a creative, compelling white wine, few regions can compete with California, and it's immense varietal diversity. With the pure, potent essence of grapes such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Pinot Gris, these wines will stimulate your senses and arouse your intellect. Give in, and enjoy.
: Chardonnay has carved its path towards the title “king of white grapes” in subtle yet striking fashion, playing instrumental roles throughout the course of history. It was the chosen grape variety which celebrated the inception of the very first Champagne house - Ruinart, which insists “Chardonnay is the golden thread that runs through the Ruinart taste. “ “Remember men, it’s not just France we’re fighting for, it’s Champagne,” Winston Churchill. The infamous and celebrated French author, Alexandre Dumas once declared a high quality chardonnay wine from Le Montrachet was one that is only appropriate to sip “on bended knees, with head bowed.” And of course, history was made once again when a bottle of 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay was awarded first prize in the famous tasting of the “1976 Judgement of Paris,” changing the world’s view on California Chardonnay, inspiring vintners and altering the landscape of California winemaking forever.
The origin of the Chardonnay grape can be traced back to the small village of Macon in the Burgundy appellation of France. The varietal, whose name means “a place of thistles” in Latin, is the offspring of Pinot Noir and Gouais Blanc. Like most prominent grape varietals, the exact circumstances of its inception are unknown; however, it is interesting to note that Gouais Blanc originated in Germany. It is speculated that the ancient Romans, who successfully subdued the Germanic tribes in 6 AD, planted Gouais Blanc in French soil, unwittingly prompting the crossbreeding of the two varietals. If this is the case, the history of the Chardonnay grape goes back much further.
The Noble Chardonnay grape variety is most happy in the winegrowing appellation of Burgundy, its home and birth place. Burgundy’s grand Terroir of marl limestone soils and cool climate allows the Chardonnay grape to express itself to its full zenith. Interestingly, the varietal is extremely flexible and can adapt to a wide diversity of soils, allowing the terroir in which it grows to dictate the qualities of the grape and thus revealing a multitude of personalities. For instance, there are subtle yet distinguishing differences in terroir in the Burgundian villages of Puligny-Montrachet, Chablis, Meursault, Corton Charlemagne, Macon, etc. which are all fashioned in their own unique way. The difference in each Climat or Lieu-dit, such as Le Montrachet (Puligny-Montrachet) and Valmur (Chablis) can take one further down the proverbial “rabbit-hole” and into the wonderful, yet complex world of Burgundy wines. However, Burgundy is but one prime growing location for this tremendously adaptable grape variety.
The spread of Chardonnay would eventually take root in Champagne, where it excelled in the region’s cool climate and chalky, sub-soils. For top Champagne producers, it became the main ingredient in their high quality, high profile Blanc de Blancs. It would also begin to be blended with the two other acceptable varietals of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier (red skinned grapes). The chardonnay grape is now planted in 10,000 of the 34,000 hectares of Champagne.
Chardonnay would find its way to California in the late 1800’s but would remain obscure for more than a century due to ignorance of the varietal and lack of knowledge on how to marry it with appropriate terroir. Things changed in the 1970’s when Chardonnay saw a resurgence world-wide, mostly due to the 1976 Judgement of Paris. The unthinkable happened when a bottle of 1973 Chateau Montelena bested some of Burgundy’s finest chardonnay offerings from Batard-Montrachet and Meursault. This event helped place California on the map, changing the face of California winemaking forever. It rejuvenated the cultivation of the Chardonnay grape variety, which saw an exponential growth world-wide.
Much like the climats of Burgundy which have their own unique terroir, Chardonnay’s adaptability has found a home in the diverse appellations, terroirs and climates of California. The cool climate locations produce crisp wines with Burgundian nuances, while warmer climates produce wines with opulent, ripe fruit reminiscent of pineapple, mango and papaya. Terroir also dictates the personality, steel and concrete tanks versus oak, and the list goes. From buttery, oak-infused heady wines to crisp, refreshing cool climate fashioned Chardonnays, the grape variety can be extremely modified. There are not enough letters in Microsoft Word to demonstrate all the different nuances, qualities, differences of terroir, climate and winemaking techniques that would encompass in full, the details of the Chardonnay grape.
The well-travelled grape varietal of Chardonnay has become the fascination of consumers around the world, becoming the most written about of all grapes. Today, it is planted in over 40 countries, amassing an impressive 211,000 hectares (500,000 acres) across the globe. From Burgundy to Champagne, Napa to Sonoma, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, Chardonnay graces vineyards around the world, captivating its audience with its multiple personalities. “So powerful is the ‘C-word’ on a wine label,” as the famed Jancis Robinson exclaimed. Since its discovery in Macon, this C-word has become a dominant force in the world of wine, changing history, winemaking and the understanding of winegrowing and its powerful attributes to a single varietal.
: As one of the most prolific and innovative wine regions in the world, America is a joy to explore. Most wine connoisseurs will agree that the nation's finest and most compelling wines are being produced today, which means that we have front-row seats to one of the most inspirational stories in wine history. While other regions tend to focus on specific wine styles and have somewhat strict rules as to which varietals you could grow, areas like California have few such restrictions in place. As a result, creative visionaries behind America's most reputable estates have been able to develop compelling, unique, and innovative styles, with a level of terroir expression that rivals even France's largest giants.
: With a history of wine production that dates back to the 18th century, California currently sits as one of the world's most prolific and reputable wine regions. With an area as vast as California, you can expect a colorful collage of terroir profiles, a series of microclimates, and micro-environments that give the wine a unique, memorable appeal. The region's produce is far from homogenized in that sense, and it would take you countless hours to sample all of it. While the region boasts scars from the Prohibition era, it went through what can only be described as a viticultural Renaissance sometime after the 1960s. At that point, California went from a port-style, sweet wine region to a versatile and compelling competitor on the world market. Today, no matter which way your taste in wine leans, you can find a new favorite producer among California's most talented.
Notable sub-regions include legendary names like Napa Valley and Sonoma County, places that any wine lover would die to visit. California's quintessential warm climate allows for incredibly ripe fruit expressions, a style that provides a stark contrast to Old World-inspired, earthy classics. Even where inspiration was clearly taken from staple French appellations, Californian winemakers put their own unique spin on the wine.
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: With over 40 years of experience, David Ramey has built a staggering reputation. Ramey’s resume is quite impressive including involvement with half a dozen famous wineries not including his very own. In 1996 while working at Dominus, he was given permission by Christian Moueix to make a “little Chardonnay.” And so sparked the flame that would eventually lead to award winning Chardonnays.
Ramey now employs his own artistic vision sticking with traditional Burgundian styled Chardonnays, rather than the much derided buttery, over oaked style. Sun-kissed California fruit married to Burgundian-style minerality is his ideal neoclassical Burgundian approach. He loves the rich texture and doesn’t worry about alcohol levels as it adds to the mouthfeel. It’s about harmony – the marriage of Old World methods with New World innovations.
Ramey focuses on terroir: the vineyards are selected for their ability to produce high quality fruit. The soil must be right for the climate, which must be right for the terrain, which must be right for the varietal. Respect for the land, allowing nature to guide the process. Nearly a dozen vineyard locations are each and respectively a testament to this ideal.
Though Ramey’s Chardonnays are highly recognized, he has a large portfolio of other wines including three Cabernets, a “Claret” blend, a Pinot Noir, and three Syrah. In total, the varietals combined produce around 40,000 cases annually. Whether it’s his highly esteemed Chardonnays or Napa Cabernet, Ramey wines come with a guarantee to please. Before they reach the consumer, each has been nurtured, methodically scrutinized at each level of the vilification process and hand crafted by one of the most disciplined and respected wine makers in California.
Wine Enthusiast | 95 WE
The 2018 Chardonnay Fort Ross-Seaview is another classic wine, offering ample honeyed orchard and lemon-like fruits, medium-bodied richness, a bright spine of acidity, and a great finish. Just textbook Sonoma Coast goodness, it’s ideal for drinking over the coming 5-7 years.
Jeb Dunnuck | 93 JD
A glistening and fresh style, with minerally cut to the pippin apple and Asian pear flavors. The lightly spiced finish lingers with hints of dried tarragon. Best from 2022 through 2026. 4,700 cases made.
Wine Spectator | 93 WS
The 2018 Chardonnay (Fort Ross-Seaview) pulses with energy. A vibrant, finely cut Chardonnay, the Fort Ross-Seaview bottling is so impressive. Crushed rocks, lemon peel, mint and white pepper are finely cut in this super-expressive, translucent Chardonnay from David Ramey.
Antonio Galloni | 92 AG
The 2018 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast, aged 12 months in 15% new French oak, is shy on the nose at this stage, with crushed shell and citrus peel. The palate fleshes out to ripe orchard fruits and nutty tones, super silky, fresh and long. It deserves another year or two in bottle. 4,700 cases were made.
Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 92 RP