David Ramey went around the block quite a few times before he got his own gig. He got his degree at UC Davis in 1979, and then started as a cellar rat -- we use this term affectionately -- at Château Petrus, the Pomerol heavyweight champion of Merlot. His next stop was Lindemans of Australia, and then back to California for stints at Chalk Hill, Matanzas Creek, Dominus Estate and Rudd Estate. Finally, with the help of his wife, David founded Ramey Wine Cellars in 1996. He has succeeded in sourcing fruit from top Napa and Sonoma vineyards, producing remarkable Chardonnays that bridge the gap between California lushness and Burgundian minerality and structure. Ramey's Hyde Vineyard Chardonnay has been exceptionally good in recent vintages and demand is through the roof. Not to be overlooked, though, are his Cabernets, routinely rich and focused, as well as Syrahs from Sonoma Coast sites.