Having previously spent some time in the US, my impression had been of domestic wines that were never quite in balance: too sweet, too tannic, too much (or not quite enough) oak. I should point out that I grew up in Bordeaux and the first white wine I fell in love with was a Pessac-Leognan: 100% Sauvignon Blanc, aged in new oak so I do like oak! Clearly, I hadn’t been drinking the right wines.
Working at Berry Bros. & Rudd has restored my faith in American wines, and this Chardonnay by Ramey is a perfect example as to why. I recently enjoyed a bottle late on a drizzly Sunday afternoon, with family that I hadn’t seen for months. The wine instantly brought us back to warm summer days: there’s lively acidity, gunflint, lemon zest, ripe nectarine and just the right amount of smoky and toasty oak flavours. It’s nicely balanced, and has this additional, welcome, richness. This is a great California Chardonnay; I’d strongly recommend buying by the case rather than the bottle.