Coming from special vineyard sites, the 2018 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.
David Ramey blends this wine from a selection of five sites planted from 1978 to 2006—the biggest contribution from Westside Farms. He ferments the wine spontaneously in François Frères and Taransaud barrels (15 percent new) and the integration of that oak is impressive, allowing the wine’s coastal freshness to provide the dominant impression. Scents of honeysuckle and ginger brighten the wine, while the leesiness adds complexity, with an iodine note and a lasting, intriguing tension.
The 2018 Chardonnay Russian River Valley has aromas of citrus peel, quince and almonds with a unique, super-spicy undercurrent. The medium-bodied palate offers intense, ripe fruits in a seamless, silky package, and it finishes long and lush.
Readers who like classic, impeccably made, authentic California Chardonnay should jump on the 2018 Chardonnay Russian River Valley as it doesn't shy away from its California fruit yet is balanced, fresh, and lengthy. Stone fruits, honeyed toast, baking spice, and hints of tropical flowers emerge from the glass, and this medium-bodied, textured 2018 will drink well for at least 7-8 years.