Robert Parker’s Highest-Rated David Ramey Chardonnay EVER
Despite American wine enthusiasts’ love affair with California Chardonnay, you can count America’s world-class producers on a single hand. In Russian River, the nod goes to Steve Kistler’s wound-up Montrachet-like Chardonnays, bottles that tend to be closed-up on release, often unwinding only after 5-7 years in bottle.
On the highest perches of Sonoma Coast, where Goldridge soils and the cool breezes off the Pacific give birth to bombastic, ripe-citrus Chardonnays, Luc Morlet and his brother Nicolas at Peter Michael rule the roost.
But when it comes to walking the tightrope between youthful accessibility and Burgundian age-worthiness, David Ramey is in a class all his own. For almost two decades, Ramey has been crafting exquisite Chardonnays from select blocks of Hyde and Hudson Vineyards, but in 2009, Ramey decided that the vines at Platt Vineyard had matured enough to join the ranks of the single-vineyard Chardonnays for which he has become famous.
In 2013, a sensational Chardonnay vintage for both quality and quantity, yields were especially low in Platt Vineyard on the Sonoma Coast. David Ramey’s vines are planted on low-vigor rootstock to a Wente selection clone chosen from a block in Hyde Vineyard.
Before he took the plunge, Ramey had for years been eyeing Platt Vineyard, just five miles from the Pacific off Bodega Highway midway between Bodega Bay and Sebastopol. The vineyard sits at 800 feet in elevation on a south-facing slope overlooking the Estero Americano, which funnels cooling marine weather to the Sacramento Delta via the Petaluma Wind Gap. Planted on prized Goldridge soils, uplifted from an ancient ocean floor, spacing is some of the tightest on the coast — 3-4 feet by 6 feet.
As you’ll recall, 2013 was the second in a series of four consecutive drought years in California. It was a marvelous growing season on the Sonoma Coast, and Ramey delayed harvest until the first and third weeks of September, picking on two separate occasions, pushing the Old Wente clone clusters at Platt to peak physiological maturity — making what Robert Parker considered Ramey’s finest Chardonnay EVER with a 96-point rating!
Ramey’s predilection is for rich, high-acid Chardonnay, and the fruit off Platt delivers naturally bracing acidity. What’s unique about Platt though, is that such firm acid is balanced with exceptional fruit character that is more restrained than typical of California Chardonnay, but more calls to mind the best White Burgundy, with show-stopping minerality — saline-like, mouthwatering, and complex.
The 2013 Ramey Chardonnay from Platt Vineyard might be his greatest Chardonnay effort yet, and is one of our all-time favorites. Brilliant pale-green with golden hues. Clean and bright aromas of lemon citrus, lemon meringue, pear and orange blossom. Rich weighty on the attack with textbook Ramey creaminess, braced by mouthwatering acidity and infused with a complex panoply of ripe citrus, apple skin, and saline minerality, finishing with exquisite purity and length.
96 points from Parker — Ramey’s highest-rated Chardonnay from The Wine Advocate EVER. $65 on release. Just $55 this morning, as if discounting even matters on single-vineyard Chardonnays from Ramey, one of the “Gang of Five.” Just 300 bottles are up for grabs. Shipping included on 4.