Ramey

A Balanced Approach to Wine – and to Life


If there has been a movement in California away from buttery, tropical-sweet Chardonnay and over-ripe, high-octane  Cabernet, surely one of the leaders is David Ramey. Located in picturesque Healdsburg, Ramey Cellars is a craft-winery that produces startlingly fresh and balanced Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon from vineyards in Sonoma County and Napa Valley. Many of Ramey’s wines express the terroir of single vineyards while others are specific to such appellations as the Sonoma Coast or Russian River Valley. With his master’s degree in enology from UC Davis, one might have expected Ramey’s wines to be faultless and squeeky-clean; however, an early internship at Chateau Petrus imbued him with the belief that wines should be restrained, balanced and crafted to accompany food. This combination of the empirical and the romantic (along with almost 20 years of experience at such wineries as Simi, Matanzas Creek and Dominus) has led him to experiment with indigenous yeasts and malolactic and barrel fermentation in search of a new California style. This style seeks to tame the naturally luscious and vivacious fruit of California with the traditional techniques of the Old World. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, novelist (and wine geek) Jay McInerny has described “his Chardonnays just a little more voluptuous than the average Puligny-Montrachet, his cabs less tannic than the typical Médoc.”

Wines from this Winery

2016 Ramey Fort Ross-Seaview | Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

2016 Ramey Fort Ross-Seaview | Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

The sub appellation Fort Ross - Seaview epitomizes what we imagine when we think of the Sonoma Coast AVA: vineyards planted on sunny hilltops and ridges overlooking not only the ocean but seas of dense fog. In the early 1970s, nobody but a few intrepid hippies thought vineyards could survive in such a cold, remote and rugged place. But today these Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs are driving the critics wild and running away with prizes. The Martinelli Charles Ranch vineyard that produced this wine lies just a few kilometers in from the ocean and features a cool climate, low vigor soils and clones that produce small bunches of tiny berries. These  grapes develop the pure flavors, minerality and high acidity one would expect from a “coastal” terroir. As with all of David Ramey’s Chardonnays, it was naturally fermented and aged in mainly neutral French oak casks. No wonder the 2015 vintage was named #9 in Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 of 2018 for its “great depth of flavor, length of finish, aromatic complexity, and a fine balance between richness and delicacy.”

Details
¥ 6,800
2016 Ramey Russian River Valley Chardonnay

2016 Ramey Russian River Valley Chardonnay

A cool - but not cold - part of Sonoma County, the Russian River puts a California spin on Burgundian grape varieties. The region’s diverse soils and subtle differences in elevation and micro-climate are the conditions that underlie the rich and complex Ramey Chardonnay. Sourced from vineyards with such illustrious names as Dutton Ranch, Martinelli, and Rochioli, Ramey’s 2016 Russian River Valley Chardonnay is creamy, deep and stunning. As an appellation series wine, David Ramey might say this Chardonnay is less concentrated and needs less time to open than the single vineyard wines, but it is made with the same attention to detail. Native yeast fermentation, malolactic fermentation in barrel, and bottling without filtration helped produce this gorgeous expression of the Russian River Valley. 

Details
¥ 6,800
2016 Ramey Sonoma Coast Syrah

2016 Ramey Sonoma Coast Syrah

By sourcing fruit from vineyards in the cool Sonoma Coast, Ramey has produced a California analog to those racy Syrahs of the Northern Rhone. In a cooler climate, Syrah develops flavors that are bright, fresh and elegant. And like a great Hermitage or Cornas, this dark red dazzles with a heady mix of red fruit and earthy, herbal and olive notes. The fruit was sourced from four vineyards in Healdsburg, Sonoma Mountain and Petaluma. With distinctive, “poor” soils, carefully-selected clones and up to 8% Viognier, these vineyards were destined to produce awesome Syrah in the stye of the Northern Rhone. In 2016, cool temperatures in late August/early September gave the winemakers time to harvest grapes at optimum ripeness. Co-fermented with 8% Viognier, the wine features an array of aromas, including black plums, violets, black olives, pepper and a floral lift. 

Details
¥ 6,900
2016 Ramey

2016 Ramey "Claret" Napa Valley

“Claret” used to be how the British wine trade referred to the red wines of Bordeaux. As with a Bordeaux wine of the left bank, Ramey blends Cabernet Sauvignon (52%), Merlot (26%), Malbec (12%) and Petit Verdot (2%). While throwing 8% Syrah into the blend may seem like a Californian touch, the winery claims it was an old Bordeaux practice - a not uncommon method of beefing up what were lighter wines back in the day. Though marketed as an early peek at the vintage, Ramey’s 2016 Claret is meaty and intense, a fine wine that will deliver pleasure whether young or cellared. Sourced from a range of vineyard sites up and down the Napa Valley (with 10% from Sonoma’s Russian River), the wine offers an aromatic melange of fruit, spice and mineral, a luscious mouthfeel and dark fruit flavors that evolve long into the finish. The affordable price makes it easy to open a bottle and see for yourself whether 2016 is yet another fantastic Napa Valley vintage.

Details
¥ 7,100
2014 Ramey Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

2014 Ramey Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Many an appellation wine is so labeled because the vineyard is in a location that merits no higher distinction. But Ramey’s Napa Valley combines fruit from Calistoga in the north to Carneros in the south and from many hillside and valley floor vineyards in between. The result? All the myriad subtleties of the Napa Valley packed inside one bottle. Unlike Ramey’s Claret, this wine has enough Cabernet (80%) to be labeled as a varietal wine while remaining true to the Bordelaise tradition of adding Merlot (11%), Malbec (6%) and Petit Verdot (3%) to the blend. It also aged longer and in a higher percentage of new oak barrels.  While the fruit is naturally flavorful and voluptuous, as the wine opens up, it reveals layers of dark fruit, spice and earthy notes. This wine can be enjoyed now or savored over the next ten years. Suggested pairings might include steak au poivre, lamb ragout with roasted peppers, or, for vegetarians, baked eggplant with mushrooms and tomato sauce.

Details
¥ 10,500
2015 Ramey Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay

2015 Ramey Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay

Located along rolling hills in the center of the Russian River Valley, the Ritchie Vineyard provides fruit to many acclaimed vintners in Sonoma County. The plot allocated to Ramey was planted to Wente selection in 1972. The gnarled vines produce but a few bunches of grapes each year, yet the fruit is consistently excellent due to the combination of sandy benchland soil, a cool microclimate and attentive farming. According to David Ramey, the Ritchie Chardonnay "walks the fine line between richness and delicacy. It has a great mouthfeel that balances power and elegance.” And Antonio Galloni wrote, “Ramey's 2015 Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard is powerful and intensely phenolic, with a real center of gravity that anchors the wine and gives it a very distinct feel.” Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay will pair well with fresh crab or chicken with a mushroom sauce.

Details
¥ 10,900
2015 Ramey Rochioli Vineyard Chardonnay

2015 Ramey Rochioli Vineyard Chardonnay

Whoa! Ramey Rochioli Vineyard? While many of Hotei’s California wine aficionados may be doing a double take, we can report that – Yes! – it’s true: in 2015 David Ramey began producing a new vineyard-designated bottling from the famed Rochioli Vineyard. Sourced from blocks within the Rochioli estate as well as a small percentage from the Allen Vineyard, which is farmed by the Rochiolis, this Chardonnay hits it out of the park. Combining Burgundian-inspired winemaking with some of the best Russian River fruit, the wine has great character and concentration: orchard fruits framed against vibrant acidity, with texture, minerality, floral notes and toast developing in the glass and keeping the experience interesting.

Details
¥ 10,900
2014 Ramey Hyde Vineyard Chardonnay

2014 Ramey Hyde Vineyard Chardonnay

Ramey's Carneros Chardonnays are a little rounder and broader than those from Sonoma. The Hyde Vineyard Chardonnays often seem charming and feminine but not at all simple in the way they combine fruit and texture into a stunning package. The complexity of this Chardonnay derives from the vines that range in age from 11 - 30 years old as well as in clonal diversity. The Wente clone in particular produces Chardonnay that is more Burgundian in character in that it lacks the tropical fruit tones of some California Chardonnays. 2014 was another in a string of great Napa vintages. Moderate temperatures throughout the spring, summer and fall gave the fruit plenty of hang time or opportunity to develop complex flavors. This wine seduces with a perfume of apple, peach and toasty notes as well as a full palate of tropical, citrus and toasty flavors. 

Details
¥ 10,900
2008 Ramey Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

2008 Ramey Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

A blend of five different vineyards in the Napa Valley, this wine has depth and complexity that reflects the myriad of microclimates and soil types found in hillside and valley floor vineyards. Traditional Bordeaux-styled winemaking gives a degree of restraint and harmony on fruit that is naturally flavorful and voluptuous.

Details
¥ 15,200
2015 Ramey Pedregal Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

2015 Ramey Pedregal Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

In Spanish, a Pedregal is a “rocky place,” and this vineyard, located in the lower hills to the east of Oakville, is one of rocky outcrops and red, iron-rich soils that routinely produce wine with intense flavors and extraordinary texture. Because the site produces such outstanding Cabernet, Ramey Cellars has a long-term lease that gives them complete control of the farming, which they carry out organically and sustainably. A warm spring in 2015 led to an early bud break, but cooler temperatures in the summer kept the fruit from ripening too quickly. The crop was smaller than usual, yielding bunches with small but highly concentrated berries. Co-fermenting the Cabernet fruit with 11% Petite Verdot, aging on the fine lees in French oak for nearly two years results in a classically made wine with the Bordeaux elements of grippy tannins and subtle aromas of cedar, pencil shavings and dried herbs. 

Details
¥ 33,000