Tonight we picked up a bottle of 2007 Ramey Chardonnay – Russian River Valley Appellation Series. We’ve had the Hyde Vineyard Chardonnay in the past and thought it was excellent. I didn’t know that Ramey has Vineyard Designation Series and Appellation Series Chardonnays – here’s an explanation from Ramey about what that means:
Each series of wine, vineyard-designate and appellation, are made identically so that the differences between them show the effects of site, or terroir, and region. All of our Chardonnays are whole-cluster pressed, fermented in Burgundian barrels with native yeast and bottled without filtration.
Vineyard Designate Series
(Hyde Vineyard, Hudson Vineyard, Ritchie Vineyard)
Coming from special vineyard sites, these wines show great depth of flavor, length of finish, aromatic complexity, and a fine balance between richness and delicacy. Typically the climate is cool, the soil vigor low, and the vine clone or selection one with small berries, small clusters and inherently low yields.
(Carneros District, Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast)
These are classic wines that show the characteristics of their region. These are cool sites with low vigor soil, which may be planted to a larger-clustered clone. They receive less new oak and less time in barrel than the single-vineyard wines, but otherwise are made identically to them.
So, what do we think of the Russian River Valley Chardonnay? To us, the style is definitely “big California Chardonnay” with oak and toasted marshmallow notes (which we like). Here’s an expert’s review:
91 Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar May/June 09
Light gold. Powerfully scented bouquet of lemon, orange, iodine and floral honey, with a suave spicy undertone. The citrus flavors repeat on the palate, along with gingerbread and tangy mineral qualities. Very fresh and precise, with excellent finishing lift and lingering minerality. This got about 38% new oak but I’m not seeing, or feeling it.
Bouquet of orange and honey – yes. Iodine??? – not sure what that means. Not seeing the new oak – I definitely think it’s oak forward.