2012 Ramey "Woolsey Road Vineyard" Russian River Valley Chardonnay

SKU #1214041 96 points Wine Enthusiast

 *Editors' Choice* This wine comes from a new vineyard source for the producer, who continues to astound with Chardonnay. The site rises to well-crafted heights in the winemaker’s hands. Made in a small quantity, the wine offers zesty lemon intensity and concentrated acidity, the entire balanced experience rewarding in its bright complexity. (VB)  (7/2015)

94 points Vinous

 A wine of real phenolic depth and density, the 2012 Chardonnay Woolsey Road Vineyard is all about texture, but here the impression is more of verticality. Creamy and voluptuous to the core, the Woolsey boasts superb overall balance and tons of complexity. Hints of apple, pear and spice blossom in a Chardonnay that captures the essence of Russian River Chardonnay. The Woolsey Road, from a three acre parcel farmed by the Martinelli family is an addition to David Ramey's range. The 2012 is a real standout in this range. It's hard to know where to start with this lineup, as David Ramey does so many things so well. The 2012 Chardonnays are beautiful, expressive and ready to go. This year sees the addition of a new Chardonnay, from Woolsey Road, a site farmed by Martinelli that replaces the Hudson in the lineup. Ramey also seems to have gotten the best of the 2012 and 2013 vintages with his Cabernet Sauvignons and Cabernet-based reds. The 2012s will drink well early, yet have the stuffing to age, while the 2013 are prototypical vins de garde, with all of the dark fruit and structure of this great vintage. Both the Chardonnays and Cabernets reflect a very Francophile sensibility. The Syrahs are a bit different, as they are quite explosive and intense, much like the Cabernets. It's pretty hard to go wrong with anything in this superb range. Best of all, it looks like Ramey's children will soon be joining the family business, which means the future is in good hands. (AG)  (1/2015)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 A small cuvée of 300 cases, the 2012 Chardonnay Woolsey Road Vineyard is fashioned from an Old Wente clone of Chardonnay. From classic, loamy, sandy Goldridge soils, it offers up beautiful aromas of pears, honeysuckle crème brûlée and peaches. With crisp acidity, an elegant, medium to full-bodied mouthfeel, impressive purity and length, this gorgeous Chardonnay should drink well for 5-7 years. (RP)  (12/2014)

92-93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Hazy yellow-gold. Smoke-accented pear and white peach on the nose, with notes of tarragon and iodine adding complexity. Densely packed orchard and citrus fruit flavors are braced by a strong mineral quality and become spicier with air. Shows excellent clarity and power on the mineral-dominated finish, which is gripping, pure and strikingly long. Note that this wine had not been bottled when I tasted it in March. Two thousand twelve marks the debut of David Ramey's first pinot noir, which came about because, as Ramey put it, "the fruit was incredible and everybody thought that I did a pinot anyway, so why not?" We discussed vintage generalizations and he mused on the fact that in the Old World such variable years are celebrated, while in California people tend to use a broader brush. "Just because something isn't great doesn't mean it's bad," he said, "but that's lost on a lot of people." The 2011 vintage is a prime example, he pointed out. "Are there a lot of not-so-good or just plain bad wines? Sure. Is everything bad? No way." Such vintages are the ones where experience, hard work, sacrifice and great vineyards really pay off ("you may only be able to make a little wine but make it good"), he commented, "and that's what people should focus on." (ST)  (5/2014)

91 points Connoisseurs Guide

 *Two Stars* Yet another vital and very deeply filled Chardonnay that marks one more success for Ramey in 2012, this deep, but somewhat tightly drawn wine marries a good bit of vibrant, slightly juicy young fruit with very well-measured oak and complexing accents of stony spice. It, too, is wonderfully energetic and layered, and it possesses remarkable length with more than enough structure and depth to make a few years of waiting a wise course to take.  (5/2015)

Wine Spectator

 Clean, pure, citrus-driven green apple, lemon blossom and pithy citrus peel flavors give this a zesty personality. (JL, Web-2015)

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Price: $59.99
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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.
Alcohol Content (%): 14.5