David Ramey of Ramey Cellars
This week we bring you the wines of a real trendsetter, friends. David Ramey of Ramey Cellars. We love to set our own stage, but the quote below from Food & Wine Magazine does a fabulous job: “David Ramey is so affable and unpretentious that a stranger might not guess that he is one of California’s most respected trendsetting winemakers. After running the show at prestigious producers like Chalk Hill, Dominus and Rudd, and gaining a reputation for groundbreaking Chardonnays and Cabernets—a relatively rare combination—Ramey and his wife, Carla, created their own label in 1996. Deep personal connections with growers allow Ramy to source grapes from a dazzling collection of top vineyards, including Chardonnay from Sonoma’s sea-cooled reaches and Cabernet from the warmer Napa Valley.”
– Mary G. Burnham, Food & Wine Magazine’s Wine Guide 2014.
How could you not want to sample these wines? Keep your desire in check a moment longer, as we have a touch more backstory for you. Ramey Wine Cellars was founded in 1996 by David and his wife Carla. After sixteen years making wine in Sonoma County, and firmly establishing Matanzas Creek and Chalk Hill wineries in the marketplace, David crossed the Mayacamas to spend six years in the Napa Valley. “Over there” he was first winemaker for Dominus Estate and project manager for the construction of their new winery, and from there he helped Leslie Rudd reshape the Girard Winery into Rudd Oakville.
Over the years, David has helped pioneer traditional, artisan winemaking techniques in California during a period when making wine by the University book was the norm. His efforts have helped shape the way many wines in the United States are made today, including the elimination of skin contact for most white grapes; the use of oxidized juice in making white wine; sur lie aging of white wines in barrel; malolactic fermentation of Chardonnay; native yeast fermentations; harvesting fully mature fruit; eliminating acidification of red wines; and bottling without filtration.
Why listen to us, though? Let’s go straight to the source:
We know you’re so ready! The wines!
2016 Sidebar Cellars, Mokelumne River, California
Kerner :: $28 sale $24
Dry, aromatic wine that’s gently floral and spicy with a crisp, medium bodied finish that is brightened by bracing acidity. 2016 began with another very early bloom, leading to a very early harvest; the first fruit arrived August 5. During maturation, summer temperatures were warm and steady, with fewer heat spikes than 2015. Three weeks of cool weather in august and september relaxed the pace of harvest, allowing for methodical picking decisions and perfectly developed fruit. Yields were relatively average, down from 2014 and up from 2015. Whole cluster pressed, native yeast, non-malolactic fermentation and sur lies aged in stainless steel barrels for three months.
2014 Sidebar Cellars, Russian River Valley, California
Syrah Rosé :: $28 sale $24
Dry, crisp and perfumed; pairs with a wide variety of foods and flavors. 2016 began with another very early bloom, leading to a very early harvest in Sonoma County. Same maturation and conditions as the Kerner. Native yeast, non-malolactic fermentation and sur lies aged in stainless steel barrels for three months.
2014 Ramey Wine Cellars, Napa Valley, California
Claret :: $44 sale $38
Claret is an English word meaning wine from Bordeaux. The term is used here to signify a blend of the Bordeaux varieties so as not to be limited by the 75 percent varietal labeling regulation. This vintage is composed of 59 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 22 percent Merlot, 12 percent Cabernet Franc, 2 percent Petit Verdot, 1 percent Malbec and 4 percent Syrah. Malolactic fermentation is completed in barrel, and the blend is assembled early so it is “elevated” as the finished wine. The 2014 Claret rested on its lees twelve months in French & American oak barrels, only 7 percent new, with monthly bâtonnage to coat the tannins, producing a luscious, cushioned mouthfeel. This wine was lightly fined with egg whites and bottled without filtration in January 2016.
2013 Ramey Wine Cellars, Russian River Valley, California
Chardonnay :: $44 sale $38
Just as Burgundy boasts three great Chardonnay appellations of Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet, & Chassagne-Montrachet, California can claim the Carneros, Sonoma Coast, and Russian River Valley appellations as uniquely suited for cool-climate Chardonnay. These are classic wines grown on cool sites with low vigor soil that show the characteristics of their region. They may also 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. All of Ramey’s Chardonnays are whole-cluster pressed, fermented in Burgundian barrels with native yeast and aged sur lies with batonnage and full malolactic fermentation. Finally, the wine is bottled without filtration. These Chardonnays are given less new oak—13 percent percent in 2014—and spend less time in barrel—twelve months–than the single-vineyard Chardonnays, but otherwise are made identically. We press the whole clusters for delicacy. Native-yeast and full native malolactic fermentation take place in barrel, with sur lies bâtonnage. After aging in barrel 12 months, it is fined and stabilized in tank during the following harvest. This wine was then bottled without filtration in February, 2016.
Prices good through Tuesday, March 28.
This Saturday we bring you another crowler tasting courtesy of WeldWerks! They’ll be sharing out their “Juicy Bits” New England-style IPA which features huge citrus and tropical fruit character from Mosaic, Citra, and El Dorado hops, a softer, fluffier mouthfeel from the lower attenuation and the characteristic New England hop haze. The end result is a beer reminiscent of citrus juice with extra pulp, thus the name Juicy Bits. Side note: new crowler – can + growler – technology is taking the microbrewing world by storm! Come in and see what all the fuss is about.
We start sippin’ and tastin’ at 4 pm. Hope you can make it! Tag your pics #pickitupatpearl so we can CHEERS!
Discover why 5280 Magazine Readers and Editors voted Pearl Wine Company Denver’s BEST BOTTLE SHOP. PWC takes pride in being Denver’s best wine shop–a craft liquor specialty store. Conveniently located on South Pearl Street in Denver’s Platt Park neighborhood.