2003 Ramey Wine Cellars Claret Napa Valley
We met David Ramey back in the mid-1980s, about ten years before he established his own winery, while he was making wine for the top producers in Napa and Sonoma. After studying enology at UC-Davis and then apprenticing at Chateau Petrus for a couple years, David came back to the States in 1982 and helped establish Matanzas Creek, Chalk Hill, Dominus, and Rudd. He caught our eye--and the eyes of many others--with his new style of wines that combined New World innovation with Old World Bordelais methods of evoking his wine's excellent terroir. With his small batches of rich, complex wines, David effectively brought Right Bank Bordeaux to California and raised the bar for an entire generation of winemakers.
Not many producers can boast 90+ ratings on blends made from their "leftovers," but David isn't your typical winemaker. After selecting the grapes for his two renowned Cabernet Sauvignon blends, he makes wine with best remaining lots from the Jericho Canyon and Diamond Mountain vineyards. Both vineyards are composed of clay-loam soil and are situated on the steep hillsides of the the Mayacamas Mountains near Mt. Saint Helena. This location may make for difficult farming, but the microclimate is perfect: thanks to the high elevation and a break in the Mayacamas, coastal fog rolls in off the Pacific and balances the long, hot days with cool evenings and chilly mornings.
In 2003, David made 3,550 cases of Claret (the British term for Bordeaux blends) from Cabernet Sauvignon (55%), Merlot (28%), Cabernet Franc (16%), and Petite Verdot (1%). This is a bistro-styled wine meant for easy and early drinking; its bouquet and flavor profile are characterized by hints of smoke, herbs, cedar, red and black currants, and spice. Drink now-2010.