2006 Ramey "Ritchie Vineyard" Russian River Valley Chardonnay

SKU #1042957

95 points and a "Highly Recommended" designation from Wine Spectator: "Deliciously complex, full-bodied and layered with flavors, offering citrus and tropical fruit, with hints of anise and buttery oak, yet the acidity keeps the flavors tangy and vibrant. Drink now through 2012. 1,300 cases made." (12/08) 94 points and 2 puffs Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine: " Seemingly the deepest and most energetically balanced of the exceptional Ramey trio, this wine is a touch simpler in its central character and a bit sweeter in its fruit. It is going to have great appeal for uses with the less briny, small oysters and with fish like Dover sole than it will with more savory foods, but it is a lso likely to find greater range over time, and may turn out to be the longest lived of the Ramey trio." (02/09) 93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Light yellow-gold. Highly perfumed aromas of lemon pith, green apple, wet stone and honeysuckle, with subtle oak spice adding depth. Weighty orchard fruit flavors are given bite by citrus zest and pith qualities, with a gentle leesy character emerging on the back end. Offers a striking combination of power and finesse, and finishes impressively precise, with excellent spicy persistence." (May/June '09) 91 points Robert Parker: "More lemon oil, hazelnut, and smoke are present in the 2006 Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard. Full-bodied, fresh, and lively, it is an outstanding effort." (12/08) ETA: Will arrive first week of July 2009.

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Price: $54.99
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- It's hard to believe that up until about 30 years ago, this extremely popular varietal hid behind the veil of geographical names like Chablis and Puligny-Montrachet. Now grown all over the world and bottled by its varietal name, Chardonnay has achieved a level of branding unlike any other wine. Surprisingly, though, what you get when you buy Chardonnay can differ greatly from country to country and even within one country, depending on the climate where it's grown and how it is vinified and aged. From fresh, crisp and minerally with apple and lemon notes to rich and buttery with tropical fruit overtones, Chardonnay runs the gamut. In France's Burgundy, Chardonnay is the source of the prized wines of Chablis, Corton-Charlemagne, Mâcon, Meursault and Montrachet. It also the foundation of exceptional Champagne, where it is blended with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier or vinified on its own into Blanc de Blancs. It is also extremely popular in California, and is gaining popularity in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and South Africa.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Alexander Valley/Russian River

- Among Sonoma County's northernmost appellations, the Alexander Valley AVA acts as a gateway to neighboring Napa to the east and Mendocino to the north. It is a sprawling appellation, with pockets of distinct microclimates and soils, and as such, is home to a variety of wine grapes and styles. Nearly everything grows in the Alexander Valley, though Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are the most widely planted grapes. The Russian River Valley lies to the south of Alexander Valley, and is marked by much cooler temperatures and frequently heavy fog. The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grown here are some of the state's finest and most sought-after. Aromatic whites like Gewürztraminer and Riesling can also be successful, and sparkling wine production has a long history in the area.