Price Range: $53–$60
- Ready to Drink: 5 years after bottle vintage
- Great recent vintages in Sonoma Chardonnay: 2007, 2012°, 2013 °=all-time great vintage
Region: Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
The smell of victory. Ripe pineapple, Hawaiian white flowers and salt of the sea on the nose—much better than Lieutenant Colonel Kilgore’s smell of napalm in the morning from Apocalypse Now. Something about the steely and unbreakable quality of this 2009 wine’s backbone against the vibrant, commanding richness of the prestigious Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay’s golden fruit . . . it says courage, power and accomplishment. Not just any winery can handle the right balance of power and sophistication. But RAMEY can. When it comes to making American Chardonnay, they are the General. We’re talking Patton, E. Lee, Schwarzkopf—Ramey commands the field. Ask the wine shops—any Chardonnay over $20 is a tough sell, it being the most overproduced and over-commoditized grape variety in existence. The reason you pay $60 for a Ramey is because once you taste one, it’s like you’ve never tasted Chardonnay before. The taste buds realign and get into a new formation. And fall under the command, and spell, of the General. –J.M.
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