Ramey Wine Dinner at Wine Watch with Special Guest Alan Ramey and George Staikos

Tuesday, July 16, 2019 - 07:30 PM

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"Woke up this morning with a wine glass in my hand,
whose wine? what wine? where the hell did I dine!"

Do You Feel Like I Do by Peter Frampton

 

I drink 2 bottles every day, but I never wake up with a wine glass in my hand.  To be at the top of your game you need to be the best and if that means I need to wake up with a wine glass in my hand they maybe I need to try even harder…

I have been following California wines for over 30 years and I can tell you that David Ramey is at the top of his game. Dave is one of the most sought-after consultants in California today, in addition to having his hands in a dozen or more wines with other people’s names on the bottle, his wines are among the best wines produced in their category every year.  After several decades of making wine in California David knows where the top vineyard sites are in Napa and Sonoma are and through his relationships with growers has been able to secure some of the best grapes to put his label on.

The Wine Watch has been selling Ramey since the very beginning and have hosted tasting with David’s wines since he founded Ramey Wine Cellars with his wife Carla in 1996.  David has graced us with his presence on many occasions but the last few years he has been focused on making wine and we are happy to have his son Alan Ramey and his right-hand man George Staikos here to tell the story of one of one of California’s top winemakers.

Join us as we sample some of the new releases from Ramey winery along with a few older vintage wines sent from the winery for this event. Our host this evening is the next generation of the Ramey family Alan Ramey and the director of sales and marketing George Staikos.  The fee for this tasting/dinner is $195 + tax for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail andy@winewatch.com.

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Ramey Wine Dinner at Wine Watch with Special Guest Alan Ramey and George Staikos
Tuesday, July 16, 2019
7:30 pm

Reception

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2017 Sidebar Kerner Mokelumne River
Price: $28.50      Sale $25.08

“Kerner is a cross of Riesling and Trollinger with origins in Germany. It also makes fine, aromatic whites in the Alto Adige region of northeastern Italy. Our Kerner comes from the only planting in California.” – David Ramey

1st Course

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2015 Ramey Rochioli Vineyard Chardonnay Russian River Valley
Price: $69.75      Sale $61.38

Winter 2015 was the warmest on record, resulting in early budbreak. Cooler, wetter weather in spring months slowed development, however, leading to a challenging, extended bloom period. The resulting uneven fruit set translated to a small crop and smaller berries with very concentrated flavors. The very early budbreak resulted in an equally early harvest.

We gently press whole clusters for phenolic delicacy. Native yeast and full native malolactic fermentation take place in barrel, with sur lies bâtonnage.  After aging 20 months in 23% new François Frères French oak barrels, this Chardonnay was fined and settled in tank following the next harvest. It was then bottled without filtration.

Winemaker Notes: This is our first single vineyard Chardonnay from this historic vineyard. We’ve enjoyed a wonderful relationship with the Rochioli family for years and are excited to produce this elegant and fruit-driven wine from our neighbor’s vineyard on Westside Road.

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2012 Ramey Woolsey Road Vineyard Chardonnay Russian River Valley
List $85.50    Sale $75.24

The 2012 growing season was close to ideal with temperate and steady temperatures that produced a long, moderate growing season with extended hang time and even ripening.  There were no significant heat spikes or rains.  We harvested the Woolsey Road Vineyard on September 1st at 22.7Ëš brix.

We use classical Burgundian techniques with the addition of whole cluster pressing of the grapes.  All of our Chardonnays go through native yeast fermentation and then delayed malolactic fermentation in three-year air dried French and Hungarian oak barrels.  Our 2012 Woolsey Road Vinearyd Chardonnay aged sur lies for 18 months in 1/3 new oak barrels before being bottled without filtration in June 2014.

Winemaker Notes: Coming from special vineyard sites, our Chardonnays show great depth of flavor, length of finish, aromatic complexity, and a fine balance between richness and delicacy.  Typically, the climate is cool and the soil vigor low, producing graceful yet vibrant wines.  This is our first bottling from this new site.

 

Seared Sea Scallops with Vanilla Rum Butter and mashed potato puree with lemon citrus basil chiffonade

 

2nd Course

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2014 Ramey Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
Price: $54.00      Sale $47.52

Our first Russian River Valley Pinot Noir strikes a fine balance between rich, unctuous styles and leaner, coastal styles. It is at once both elegant and delicious.  This vintage’s blend sourcing is: 47% from Westside Farms, 39% from Bucher Vineyard and 14% from Keller Estate.  Our Russian River Valley Pinot Noir is a blend of Dijon clones 115, 777 and 828 (the La Tache selection) and two heritage selections, Pommard and Swan.

Tuna and wild mushroom tartar with mint lavender aioli and Harpke Farms micro greens and edible flowers

 

3rd Course

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2014 Ramey Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Price: $63.00       Sale $55.44

(93 Points) The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley is classic Ramey Cabernet all the way. Blackberries, currants, scorched earth, and charcoal aromatics, medium to full body, great elegance, and notable concentration all make for a top notch 2014 that can be drunk today or cellared for 10-15 years. The blend is 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 6% Malbec, and 3% Petit Verdot, and it’s made in decent enough quantities that it should be easy to find. Jeb Dunnuck

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2007 Ramey Cabernet Sauvignon Annum Napa
Price: $183.00    Sale $161.04

(95 points) From high on Diamond Mountain, the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Annum exhibits an inky/blue/purple color as well as a smoky barbecue note in its creme de cassis, blackberry, licorice and camphor-dominated aromatics. This powerful, rich, stunningly concentrated 2007 will benefit from another 2-4 years of bottle age and should drink well for 20-25 years thereafter. (RP) (12/2010) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

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2009 Ramey Cabernet Sauvignon Pedregal Oakville Napa
Price: $270.00    Sale $237.60

(95 points) From a site in Oakville, 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Pedregal Vineyard is another huge, intense wine that also possesses wonderful nuance and delineation, a rare attribute for such a big Cabernet. Espresso, mocha, black cherries, grilled herbs and sweet spices lead to a huge core of blue/black fruit in this brooding, full-bodied wine. There is a lot to like in the 2009 Pedregal, but I can’t imagine the wine being fully expressive until at least age ten. Anticipated maturity: 2019-2039. ...In my mind, Ramey is one of the top wineries in the United States. Readers who aren’t familiar with these wines owe it to themselves to check them out. (AG) (4/2013) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

A5 Japanese Waygu NY Strip with currant natural sauce

 

Cheese Course

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2016 Ramey Sonoma Coast Syrah
Price: $45.00      Sale $39.60

2016 began with another very early bloom, leading to a very early harvest in Sonoma County; our 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.

Our 2016 Sonoma Coast Syrah is a blend of 92% Syrah and 8% Viognier, co-fermented.
fermented in tank as 75% destemmed fruit with 25% whole Syrah clusters. We utilized native-yeast and malolactic fermentations. The wine rested sur lies for 12 months in 41% new French barrels from François Frères, Demptos and Taransaud Beaune. Our 2016 Sonoma Coast Syrah was bottled without filtration in June, 2018.

Winemaker Notes: Our Syrahs are grown in the cool climate of the Sonoma Coast which offers a style reminiscent of the Northern Rhone regions of Hermitage and Cornas:  aromas and flavors of smoked meat, white pepper, green olive and grapefruit, coupled with a silky texture and savory flavor.

OG Gouda, Bayley Haven Blue with Hazelnut and Fig compote

 

The fee for this dinner is $195 + tax for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail andy@winewatch.com

A bit about Ramey Winery:

 

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A select group of winemakers can be credited with revolutionizing modern day winemaking in California. They are the innovators who, some 20 years ago, brought Old World traditions back to a New World that had thrown in its lot with university scientists to make squeaky clean wines largely devoid of character. The goal of these new wave winemakers was to put terroir back into the bottle and create wines of unique distinction.

David Ramey is widely acknowledged to be among the wine pioneers whose efforts helped raise the bar for all American winemakers and brought California to the forefront of the international wine world. David’s groundbreaking work with indigenous yeasts and malolactic and barrel fermentation yielded a new California style that was richer, more lush and silky smooth than previously known. As a result, he created a benchmark style now emulated by many.

At first, David followed a traditional path and received a graduate degree from the University of California at Davis, where his 1979 thesis on volatile ester hydrolysis (translation: how flavors evolve in wine) is still used today to unveil certain vinous mysteries. But shortly afterwards, a stint working for the Moueix family at the renowned Chateau Pétrus introduced David to the time-honored methods of winemaking in France. He brought his lessons home and applied them to the grapes he found growing in California’s premier wine regions.

David Ramey started his career in wine with little more than a degree in enology and a dream. Then, after nearly two decades of creating benchmark wines for such California wineries as Matanzas Creek, Chalk Hill, Dominus and Rudd, David Ramey and his wife Carla founded Ramey Wine Cellars in 1996. “Owning one’s own winery is the dream of every winemaker,” David says, looking back on the path that led him to build his own. It took time, planning and a profound understanding of how best to bring together all the elements—from the grapes, to the winery materials, and a top-notch team of professionals—to make it all work.

Ramey Wine Cellars is located off the town square in the quaint Sonoma County town of Healdsburg. It is a sleek, efficient, no-frills work space dedicated exclusively to making the highest quality wines possible. “In our own winery, we’re not distracted, as I had been, by the ongoing and changing needs of an employer,” David notes. “At Ramey Wine Cellars, we try to foster a team environment where everybody feels empowered to contribute and make a difference in both winery operations and the wine itself. My hope is to create an atmosphere of great opportunity for all.”

The winery produces authentic, hand-crafted wines made in an Old World tradition--coupled with New World innovation and California terroir. Owned exclusively by David and his wife Carla, grapes are sourced from vineyards with which David has worked for many years.  Their next project will be to purchase land and develop their own vineyards.

Ramey Wine Cellars, which David owns with his wife, Carla, was founded in 1996. Currently, David continues to “swing for the fences,” as he likes to say. To make great wines, he takes chances, harvesting his grapes at the last possible moment and using methods in the cellar that his former college professors consider risky at best. The resulting wines are praised among colleagues, consumers and the media alike. David serves on the board of Family Winemakers of California and the executive board of Communicating for Agriculture and the Self-employed.  He lives with his family in Glen Ellen, not far from the Ramey Wine Cellars winery in Healdsburg.

 

Everything from Ramey that we have in the store.

2015 Ramey Chardonnay Sonoma Coast
Price: $46.50      Sale $40.92

This combines grapes from the Martinelli family’s Charles Ranch Vineyard in Fort Ross-Seaview with grapes from Platt Vineyard, a site long sourced by Ramey overlooking the Pacific Ocean near Freestone—the producer’s coolest site. It melds exotic ginger with apple skin, melon rind and bright focused acidity that remains fresh, succulent and lingering.– 95 pts | Editors’ Choice | Virginie Boone | Wine Enthusiast

 

2016 Ramey Chardonnay Russian River Valley
Price: $46.50      Sale $40.92

Coming from special vineyard sites, our Chardonnays show great depth of flavor, length of finish, aromatic complexity, and a fine balance between richness and delicacy.  Typically, the climate is cool and the soil vigor low, producing graceful yet vibrant wines.

 

2014 Ramey Woolsey Road Vineyard Chardonnay Russian River Valley
List $69.75    Sale $61.38

“…Medium-bodied with plenty of finesse in the mouth, it gives a nice balance between the fruit and savory flavors, with a silken texture and finishing long and toasty.” 93 pts – Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate, March 2017

2014 was another classic vintage. A mild winter and spring caused an early bud break followed by consistent temperatures throughout the summer, promoting even ripening. We had ample hang time which in turn yielded intense varietal character and a rich texture.

We press whole clusters for phenolic delicacy (low tannins). Native-yeast and full native malolactic fermentations take place in barrel, with sur lies bâtonnage. After nineteen months in 26% new French oak barrels from François and Taransaud, this Chardonnay was bottled without filtration in June 2016.

Coming from special vineyard sites, our Chardonnays show great depth of flavor, length of finish, aromatic complexity, and a fine balance between richness and delicacy.  Typically, the climate is cool and the soil vigor low, producing graceful yet vibrant wines.  This is our third bottling from this new site.

 

2014 Ramey Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard Russian River Valley
List $69.75    Sale $61.38

Our Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay walks the fine line between richness & delicacy.  It has a complex and harmonious mouthfeel that balances power with elegance.

(95 Points) Youthfully mute at this primary stage, the 2014 Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard offers suggestions of lemon curd, white peaches and white grapefruit with underlying notes of honeyed toast and butterscotch. The palate is full-on seduction with an appealingly oily texture and tons of peaches and cream flavors, finishing long with a lively lift.  Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 

2015 Ramey Chardonnay Hyde Vineyard Carneros
List $69.75    Sale $61.38

Vine selection for our Hyde Vineyard Chardonnays are predominantly old Wente with some Robert Young—itself a Wente selection. The Wente produces a classic, Burgundian-style wine without the tropical fruit tones of some California Chardonnays. Hyde Vineyard wines often seem charming and feminine, with high natural acidity playing a prominent role.

 

2016 Ramey Claret Napa
Price: $46.50       Sale $40.92

2016 began with another very early bloom, which lead to a very early harvest ; our 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.

Our Claret follows the Bordelaise model of blending different Bordeaux varietals. Malolactic fermentation is completed in barrel, and the blend is assembled early so it is “elevated” as the finished wine. Our 2016 Claret rested on its lees twelve months in French & American oak barrels, only 13% 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 February 2018.

This soft, easy-drinking Cabernet is a good introduction to the vintage, and while it will improve over the course of three to eight years, it is not a wine intended for long-term cellaring.

 

2014 Ramey Cabernet Sauvignon Annum Napa
Price: $108.00    Sale $95.04

“The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Annum is rich, racy and seductive, and yet also maintains a very classic, mid-weight sense of structure. The flavors are bright and nicely focused in this nuanced, mid-weight wine. The 2014 is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Cabernet Franc, with the Franc adding quite a bit of brightness and aromatic nuance. This has terrific potential.” – 93+pts, Antonio Galloni, vinous, April 2018

2014 was another classic vintage, despite the third consecutive year of drought. A mild winter and spring triggered early bud break, while much-needed late spring rain alleviated water stress on the vines through summer. Summer temperatures were warm and steady, balanced by particularly cool mornings, which permitted even fruit development. Cooler weather in August further lengthened hang time, resulting in perfectly matured fruit with moderate sugar levels.

The 2014 Annum blend is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Cabernet Franc.

Aging the 2014 sur lies with monthly bâtonnage has coated the tannins and smoothly integrated the wood.  We aged this vintage 24 months in new French oak barrels (Taransaud).  Non-filtered.

The ninth vintage of this blend–it represents our version of a “winemaker’s wine.” Annum is the one red wine we make each year that allows us to select from a range of prestigious vineyards to make the best blend possible that vintage.

 

2013 Ramey Cabernet Sauvignon Pedregal Oakville Napa
Price: $215.25    Sale $189.42
“From Oakville, the 2013 Pedregal Vineyard is usually the top Cabernet Sauvignon. A classic nose of cedar wood, forest floor, blackcurrants and loamy earth notes is followed by a wine of stunning intensity, full-bodied potency, beautiful purity and length. There is plenty of tannin, but the extravagant richness seems to cover it up extremely well.” 95pts – Robert M. Parker Jr., The Wine Advocate, March 2016

 

2013 Ramey Syrah Rogers Creek
Price: $73.50       Sale $64.68

We like the inclusion of whole Syrah clusters in the fermentation and so add 25%; this seems to heighten the “Syrahness.” Other aspects of fermentation and élevage are the same as with all of our winemaking—native yeast and malolactic fermentations. This vintage aged sur lies with monthly bâtonnage and rested 24 months in 100% new French barrels. This wine was bottled without filtration in January 2016.

This unique property is on the western, cooler side of Sonoma Mountain, which provides the savory character that to us defines Syrah.

sidebar cellars

 

2017 Sidebar Rose Sonoma
Price: $22.50       Sale $19.80

“This dry rosé is drawn from an old-vine Syrah vineyard in the heart of the Russian River Valley and is best enjoyed in its youth.”   – David Ramey

 

2017 Sidebar Sauvignon Blanc High Valley
Price: $21.75       Sale $19.14

“Grown at an elevation of 1,800 feet, our Sauvignon Blanc shows classic varietal character without exaggeration.”  – David Ramey

 

2016 Sidebar Red Field Blend Russian River Valley
Price: $28.50       Sale $25.08

“A unique blend of grape varietals from a heritage vineyard, half planted 125 years ago and the other half 65 years ago.” – David Ramey

 

2016 Sidebar Zinfandel Old Vines Russian River Valley
Price: $30.00       Sale $26.40

“A unique field blend of Zinfandel and fourteen other grape varieties from a heritage Russian River Valley vineyard, originally planted in 1890 and partially replanted in 1950 by Americo Rafanelli.”- David Ramey

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