The Ritchie Vineyard’s Wente clone Chardonnay was planted in 1972, widely spaced, in the site’s gravelly Goldridge loam. Now in their fifth decade, the vines yield few and concentrated clusters, especially in warm years like 2015. These grapes were harvested at an average of 23.8˚ Brix, whole-cluster pressed, and barrel fermented with ambient cultures. The wine went through complete malolactic fermentation, then aged 20 months in French oak, one-fifth new.
It is a concentrated elixir, with a potent perfume that mixes melon, lemon peel, dried citrus, laurel, and stone. The palate is equally concentrated, but it’s the concentration of a warm vintage and phenolic ripeness versus, say, an overabundance of barrel spice or alcohol; it’s the potent essence of Chardonnay fruit.
Superlative with savory spiced cuisine like curries or pilafs. Try roasted poultry or salmon, rich gratins, vegetable pastry.
2015 Ramey Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard Russian River Valley
14.5% abv | $65 (sample)