Ramey Wines Butte MT
David Ramey: Exceptional Wines from an Exceptional Winemaker
photo © Priscilla Upton
David Ramey is that rare individual, a scholar who became a doer. At UC, Davis, he wrote a graduate thesis on the evolution of flavors in wine that is still used today. Afterwards, he worked for the Christian Mouiex family at Chateau Petrus and helped establish their Dominus Estate in California as well as several other well known wineries such as Chalk Hill, Matanzas Creek and Rudd Estate. He later founded his own winery and became one of California’s preeminent winemakers. His French and California winemaking education is today revealed in his wines, which show both terroir and the rich, ripe fruit for which California is famous.
David Ramey produces two types of Chardonnays. One he calls his “Appellation Series”, which are blends of grapes from vineyards of different California AVAs such as Russian River, Carneros, and Sonoma Coast; the other are “Vineyard Designate” wines from some of the top single vineyards in California.. These wines are all superb examples of Chardonnay a la California—ripe, richly flavored with excellent depth and integration of fruit and smoky oak. They have the stuffing to handle fairly high alcohol levels but require pairing with equally rich, flavorful dishes to show to their best advantage. Their similar styles show the hand of a talented winemaker whose influence on the wine is at least as important as the appellation and site-specific terroir from which the grapes were sourced. Since all the wines are treated similarly—native yeasts, whole-cluster pressing, 20 months in French oak (2/3 new), and no filtration---even an experienced taster will find it challenging to identify the often subtle differences in terroir reflected in the wines in the Appellation series.
Ramey also produces world class reds from Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. These wines are all vineyard designated and combine the best of the Old and New World, showing both ripe opulent fruit and a sense of place.
The International Wine Review has previously reviewed Ramey’s 2006 Chardonnays in the Appellation Series and 2005 single vineyard Reds (see Featured Tastings October 2008 ). Here we report our evaluations of the 2006 single vineyard white and red wines.
Ramey 2006 Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay Russian River Valley ($70) 91
A beautifully rich and balanced wine that unfolds on the palate after stimulating the senses with a sumptuous nose of bright hazelnut and lemon oil. Shows a beautifully balanced lanolin-smooth palate with tastes of ripe melon, pear, toasted nuts and hints of coconut and nutmeg. Evocative of old vines with gnarly trunks. Beautifully balanced, elegant and refined.
Ramey 2006 Hyde Vineyard Chardonnay Napa Valley Carneros ($62) 93
Our favorite of the Ramey single vineyard Chardonnays, the 2006 Hyde Vineyard shows beautiful depth and purity of flavor accentuated by lively acidity. Shows a floral bouquet of honeysuckle and...
Wine 'Doggy Bag' Regulations in Montana
The Liquor Control Commission tells us that a person may take an alcoholic beverage away from the licensed premises providing the license allows the sale of alcohol for on or off-premises consumption. A restaurant holding a restaurant/beer license may not allow wine to be removed from the premises. They suggest that a partially consumed bottle of wine be re-corked before it is removed. (see note 2)