2011 Ramey Napa Valley Claret
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
David Ramey’s 2011 Claret is lovely. Rose petals, savory herbs and dark red fruit all take shape in the glass. There is naturally a bit more restraint in the 2011 next to other recent vintages, but that may actually be a positive for a wine meant to be enjoyed upon release. Sweet floral notes add lift on the finish. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2023. Once again, I tasted an amazing range of wines with David Ramey. The Chardonnays capture a beautiful middle ground of ripe, California fruit but treated to a long, Burgundy-inspired elevage that relies on natural yeasts and no filtration, among other choices, to bring out the personality of each of the sites Ramey works with. To me, the Ramey Chardonnays have a Chassagne-like richness that is quite appealing, yet they remain laid back in style by California standards. The Cabernets run the gamut price-wise, but I find a lot to like across the entire range. The Syrahs are in some ways the outliers, because they are made by a winemaker with a very Cabernet-influenced palate. As good as Ramey’s Syrahs are, it is impossible not to notice a house style that emphasizes an overt expression of fruit over what might be termed more varietal character, especially in the regular bottling. As for the reds, the 2011 Cabernets are quite strong for the year. In 2011, Ramey bottled a far greater percentage of his juice into the entry-level Claret than normal, and saved only the best lots for the Cabernets, a decision that has paid off handsomely
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(made from 61% cabernet sauvignon, 15% merlot, 12% petit verdot, 10% syrah and 2% cabernet franc): Bright purple. Fresh, clove-accented red berry and cherry aromas show an energetic, sharply focused personality. Youthful, deep redcurrant and cherry-vanilla flavors pick up sweetness with air. Quite open, with no rough edges. Finishes with good breadth and length, leaving a subtle smoky note behind.
This is Ramey's best value Cabernet Sauvignon blend. "We call it our roast chicken Cabernet as opposed to our steak Cabernet," the winery says.