2019 Ramey Wine Cellars, Claret, North Coast, California.
The wonderfully expressive and smoothly delicious Bordeaux inspired Ramay Claret, has a California twist and uniqueness, being that this 2019 vintage was comprised of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah, 9% Malbec, 8% Petit Verdot, 6% Merlot, and 2% Cabernet Franc that saw eighteen months in 20% new French & American oak barrels, which allowed a deep currant, plum and dark berry led full bodied palate to develop, and background notes of vanilla, coco, tobacco, dried sage, anise, smoky graphite and cedar. This Dave Ramey made Claret, he says, describing its textural quality was given a monthly bâtonnage, Ramay adds, to coat the tannins, and helping to produce a luscious, cushioned mouthfeel, which is cleanly evident and very welcome, though the underlying structure should make it age well too. This still youthfully purple/garnet and soft tannin laced Cabernet Sauvignon based Claret was lightly fined with egg whites, but was bottled without filtration in the quest to provide all the nuance and flavors to be had here. I would suggest a robust meal to go along with this wine, best decanted, with prime rib, steak and wild mushroom dishes being good choices.

Famous for his set of Bordeaux and Burgundy varietal offerings, Dave Ramey, one of California’s hall of fame winemakers with a stellar history of top notch Napa Valley Cabernets, along with his beautifully crafted Carneros and Sonoma Coast Chardonnays, as well as his Syrahs, which I usually talk about. Ramey, I understand is now focusing exclusively on Sonoma County fruit sources, for all of the wines, moving away from some of the Napa sources, going forward and tightening his fabulous collection of stylish wines that I recently tasted through, with his latest Fort Ross – Seaview Chardonnay, this Claret and this awesome 2016 Northern Rhône inspired Rodgers Creek Syrah, reviewed last year, being favorites on the day. Ramey says he assembled the final blend early on, to elevate the finished wine and to ave all the parts meld smoothly together, and I don’t honestly know if it made a difference, but it is a lovely wine and with the price of top California wines, this one seems like a tremendous value, especially on a wine list where you’d be hard pressed to find a better wine for the price these days. I have been a good long fan of Ramey’s stuff and his latest are highly enjoyable offerings that I can easily recommend and treat myself to.
($55 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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