Ramey Chardonnay 2014, Sonoma Coast
Cost: $39-41
T here is no doubt in my mind that good wine tastes better when you drink it with people you love. So when we are with family or special friends we try to pull out really good wine.
That’s what we did when we had dinner with Teri’s sister and brother-in-law, Mary Jo and Russ. They are wonderful people, and we love spending time with them. It doesn’t hurt that we tend to spend time with them at great places.
Last week it was St. Simon’s Island, a really beautiful place where I hadn’t spent much time. They were renting a condo on the beach and asked us to join them. We missed the early part of the week, but we had four fun, relaxing days.
Russ and Mary Jo love good wine, so they always bring some dandies and we try to do the same.
Mary Jo and Teri smiled through the whole dinner. Of course, they pretty much smile all the time they are together.
We planned to have good seafood while we were there so we brought the Ramey Chardonnay 2014, Sonoma Coast. David Ramey makes outstanding wines, many of them single vineyard wines. They are all first rate.
The Sonoma Coast wine comes from two vineyards, 69 percent from Martinelli Charles Ranch Vineyard and 31 percent from Platt Vineyard.
It was outstanding. It is a gorgeous light yellow in the glass with inviting floral aromas with a hint of citrus. The wine has complex, rich flavors with a fine balance between richness and delicacy.
There was no flounder left over after this meal.
I kept wanting to smack my lips as I tasted this wine because it was so good. But I was on my best behavior so I just drank it and thought good thoughts.
Teri, Mary Jo and Russ all agreed that this was a fine dinner wine.
After harvest the winery presses whole clusters for delicacy. Native-yeast and full native malolactic fermentations take place in barrel, with sur lies bâtonnage. After aging 12 months in 15 percent new French oak barrels, this chardonnay was fined for clarity and texture in tank during the following harvest. It was then bottled without filtration in February, 2016.
“Coming from these two special vineyard sites, our Sonoma Coast chardonnays show great depth of flavor, length of finish, aromatic complexity, and a fine balance between richness and delicacy,” said winemaker David Ramey.  “These two vineyards have typically cool climates, low vigor soil, and a vine selection that generate small berries, small clusters and inherently low yields.”
The winery says this is the seventh vintage to be dominated by the Martinelli Charles Ranch on Bohan Dillon Road. The vineyard was planted in 1982 by George Hastings Charles (Lee Jr.’s maternal grandfather, called PaPa). The soil is Goldridge and Josephine; Goldridge comes from sandstone and Josephine is from shale. The vineyard was planted mixed Wente with other chardonnay clones.
Platt Vineyard is their coolest site and has Goldridge Loam soil uplifted from an ancient ocean floor. In 2003, it was planted with Wente selection chardonnay collected from one of their Hyde Vineyard blocks, the rows are densely planted on low-vigor rootstock.
You can’t go wrong with a Ramey chardonnay, and this is one of their least expensive. It tastes like it should cost twice as much, so even at $40, this wine is a bargain.
Winery: David Ramey is one of the true pioneers who added to the reputation of California wine with many high quality offerings. He earned a graduate degree from UC-Davis, renowned for its oenology classes, and went to work at Chateau Petrus in Bordeaux. Petrus produces one of the most expensive wines in the world.
While in France, Ramey learned Old World winemaking techniques, which he brought back to the United States.
He was involved in the start-up of wineries such as Chalk Hill, Matanzas Creek, Dominus and Rudd Estate before founding his eponymous winery along with his wife, Carla, in 1996. At first he just made a small amount of wine under his own label while working for others.
Russian River and Carneros chardonnays were added to his production, and in 2001 he made his first red wine, a cabernet sauvignon.
In 2002 he left Rudd to become a full time independent producer. The winery continued to grow, adding new wines and employees.
Using traditional techniques and fruit from throughout Napa and Sonoma, Ramey crafts highly sought after cabernet blends, chardonnay and Syrah. They also make outstanding pinot noir.
The company says it is dedicated to creating high quality, handcrafted wines with balance and richness from the area’s finest vineyards. They say they marry Old World methods with New World innovations.
They have a tasting room in Healdsburg, open by appointment.
David never stops trying new things. He and his wife started a second label, Sidebar Cellars, in 2014. This allows Ramey to explore new and diverse varietals and unconventional blends. He also is having fun trying new things without detracting from the main show. I have had several of those wines, and they are outstanding.
I like one of the company beliefs that says life is for living, wine is for sharing, and harmony is essential to both.
Russ and I agreed the Ramey was a good match for the shrimp and flounder.
Goes with: We knew we wanted seafood for dinner so we set off in search of a good seafood shop. Russ had been on the island for a couple of days so he knew where we should go.
It was a little shop in a strip mall. I knew it had to be good because they didn’t waste money on a fancy sign or special cases to display their catch. There were two small glass cases, a counter top and a cash register.
I figured if they didn’t waste money on making the place chic, they probably spent the money on a good boat. We asked the woman working there what was freshest and she mentioned about four things.
Black sea bass and flounder were the most appealing, so we took flounder. (We came back a couple of days later for the sea bass, which we took home to cook. By then they had run out of flounder.) We also got some shrimp.
We steamed the shrimp, lightly breaded the flounder and pan fried it, made some small roasted red potatoes with herbs and sliced some carrots which we cooked in bourbon, sugar and herbs. We added a tossed salad and had a feast.
Did I mention that we have never had a bad meal when we’re with Russ and Mary Jo, no matter who cooks or which restaurant we choose? I think we’re a lucky combination.
I loved every dish, but the flounder was out of this world, light, flaky and with a great taste. Everything actually was pretty easy to make, so no one had to spend hours in the kitchen preparing the food.
All four of us agreed the wine was a great match to the fish and shrimp. We slept well that night. And by the end of the week we had solved all the world’s problems, if only our leaders would listen to us.
This was another fun trip with Teri’s family. We’ve had several lately, and they all have been grand.


  1. Sounds like a wonderful and delicious weekend Dennis. Thank you for including our Ramey Chardonnay and for sharing your review with us. Cheers to you and your family!

Write A Comment

Pin It