This Chardonnay was grown in Ramey’s Westside Farms, a 75-acre ranch along a curl of the Russian River that’s carpeted in gravelly silt-loam. The fruit was whole-cluster pressed, and both primary and secondary fermentations occurred in barrel with ambient cultures. The wine aged 18 months in French oak, one-third new.
When first opened it is stony, yielding a scent of wet clay and water on rocks. Then suddenly it turns a corner, blossoming in lime peel, sappy yellow citrus, and the laurel-inflected scent of green walnut. Sipped, the wine offers flourishes of sparkly citric fruits, pineapple, lemon curd, and cultured cream. It is savory from the lees stirring, which adds a proper bass note, but the finish lifts again in green tea and ginger.
Polished and prismatic, but with a depth charge of fruit, acid, and savoriness, it’s more profound than Ramey’s Sonoma Coast Chardonnay (which is saying a lot). This is the kind of wine you want to know better. Some will drink it alone as a rumination. Others will age it, and congratulate themselves later.
2014 Ramey Chardonnay Westside Farms Russian River Valley
14.5% abv | $65 (sample) 235 cases made