Friday, August 19, 2022

Ram’s Gate Chardonnay 2017

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El Diablo Vineyard Russian River

2017 Hyundai Tucson | Ruby Wine | HU366565 | Mt Vernon | Skagit |

Located on the east side of the Russian River, El Diablo Vineyard is located west of the town of Windsor. Originally planted by well-known grape grower Ulysses Valdez, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who gained his citizenship during the Reagan administration. He learned his way up from pruning to foreman. In 2007, he found the property that sits on a little bluff above the river. The owner gave him permission to lease the property and develop it. But once Ulysses planted it, the owner changed his mind and took the property back. An Indian tribe then bought the land from the original owner and they brought Ulysses back to manage the property. Eventually, Ulysses finally bought the vineyard and named it El Diablo.

Ulysses did not have formal training or education, but he had a knack for farming. El Diablo is planted to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in gravelly, sandy loam soils with clay subsoils. Joe only met Ulysses a few times before Ulysses passed away in 2018. Joe noted that Ulysses had a keen eye and the El Diablo Vineyard, managed today by Ulysses son, offers him the ability to select Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

The Rams Gate 2018 El Diablo Vineyard Pinot Noir is a blend of two clones, the rounder, less tannic Pommard, and more rustic, higher acid and tannic Vosne-Romanee. The clones work well together, combining plushness and focus. The grapes are picked and fermented separately. They are not blended until bottling.

Berler Vineyard Fountaingrove District

Fountaingrove is a new AVA on the western side of Spring Mountain. Joe was looking for high elevation vineyards. The Bennett Valley was too cold, and Moon Mountain was too warm. At the end of his search in 2016, he found the Berler Vineyard, and it was just right. The north-facing 18-acre vineyard sits at 1500 feet elevation and is planted to a single clone of Cabernet Sauvignon in Sobrante loam soils.

Joe was blown away by the beauty of the vineyard and began sourcing fruit in 2016 to make a wine with his wife. Instead of starting his own label, Joe brought the juice from the 2017 vintage with him to Rams Gate in 2018 and made wine under that label. The Rams Gate 2017 Berler Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon was picked in late October after a long hang time. The grapes underwent native fermentation and the wine spent 22 months in barrel, 55% new French oak. The wine has aromas of blackberry, wild herbs, California chaparral, and chocolate and on the palate, it has beautiful acidity and lightly gripping tannins.

At Rams Gate, Joe Nielsen is showcasing single-vineyard wines that express something unique. He expressed it best when he explained, Everything we are doing is nuanced but the goal is to have a portfolio that feels like a music album. A guitar can sound similar but the melody changes. Each vineyard brings something unique to wine.

Rams Gate Welcomes You To Carneros

Literally the first winery you arrive at when driving toward Sonoma from parts west, Ram’s Gate invites your visit. An outstanding property, interesting architecturally with views of Carneros, adjacent wet lands and San Pablo Bay, it feels right. With interesting outdoor spaces and indoor spaces that open to the outside depending on weather and the ubiquitous Carneros breezes, you can relax and sip. Reflecting the best of its terror, the top wines are chardonnay and pinot noir, which are at home on this site. The friendly staff is charming and knowledgable. Highly recommended.

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Our son is a member of Ram’s Gate Winery and hosted the two of us for an early afternoon tasting. Everything about the place was wonderful. The staff was helpful, and Daniel was our server. He did a great job explaining the pours and responding to our questions. We ordered their charcuterie board and a salad. We loved that we could have something to eat along with our wine. The variety of the wines were great. Each had a pleasant nose and great flavor. We sat out on their patio and were fortunate to have a sunny spring day. The views looked out over the vineyards and the rolling hills. Can’t wait to return to this gem of a place of a spot not far from the Bay area.

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Single Vineyard Expressions Of Sonoma With Rams Gate

    The beauty of a wine is not just the grape variety. It is not just about a style of wine. Wine also expresses the place where the grapes are grown. At Rams Gate in Sonoma, Director of Winemaking Joe Nielsen voiced, It is about the personality of the vineyards, each vineyard is unique. Working with single vineyards in Sonoma County, Joe is focused on working with great sites in Sonoma County to produce wines that speak to where they are from.

    Rams Gate was founded in 2011. Located where the San Francisco Bay meets the edges of Napa and Sonoma counties, Rams Gate sits on a 28-acre estate in which the Sonoma Valley ends on the south side of the vineyard, the Sonoma Coast on the east, and Carneros on the west. Producing primarily Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, as well as small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Blanc, Rams Gate focuses on single-vineyard wines.

    Joe Nielsen joined Rams Gate as the Director of Winemaking in 2018. Prior to Rams Gate, Joe studied horticulture at Michigan State. He started making wine at 17 years of age and never looked back. After graduation, he headed west and worked at Merryvale in Napa before joining Donelan Family Wines in Santa Rosa. After a decade with Donelan Family Wines, Joe came to Rams Gate and spent the first-year diving into the soils on the estate to discover what was special.

    Rams Gate 2017 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast

    2017 Ram

    Rams Gate started in 2011 focusing on small lot productions of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from with the Carneros AVA where the winery is located. Since then they have expanded to other vineyard sites including the Sonoma Coast. This 2017 offers notes of butterscotch, lemon zest, honeysuckle, tangerine, lime kefir, and sweet resin. It also packs a zestiness with acidity to match, making it ideal with foods. Aged 11 months, about a third of the barrels were new French oak. The oak is present, but the fruit and acidity are center stage.

    ORIGIN: Sonoma Coast, California

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    ALCOHOL: 14.2%

    PAIR WITH: Mushroom risotto, grilled salmon, fried chicken.

    SCORE: 90 POINTS

    Visiting wine country? Buy a Priority Wine Pass today to receive Complimentary and discounted tastings. Why spend hundred on tastings when you can taste for less or for free with The Priority Wine Pass.

    Recommended Reading: What Wine Goes Good With Salmon

    Ram’s Gate 2018 El Diablo Vineyard Chardonnay

    You now have FREE access to nearly 300,000 wine, beer and spirit reviews. Cheers!

    Creamy and lush in caramel, toffee and baked pear, this tropical white has a command of complementary acidity that rises on the midpalate and carries through to a lengthy finish. Toasted oak and baking spice add additional richness. Virginie Boone

    • rating

    All tastings reported in the Buying Guide are performed blind. Typically, products are tasted in peer-group flights of from 5-8 samples. Reviewers may know general information about a flight to provide contextvintage, variety or appellationbut never the producer or retail price of any given selection. When possible, products considered flawed or uncustomary are retasted.

    Ratings reflect what our editors felt about a particular product. Beyond the rating, we encourage you to read the accompanying tasting note to learn about a products special characteristics.

    Ram’s Gate Chardonnay Sonoma Coast

    Perched on a rolling hillside, where the San Francisco Bay meets the edges of Napa and Sonoma counties, Rams Gate Winery considers themselves the gateway to Wine Country. Its certainly among the most beautiful spots in Sonoma County, designed by Howard Backen in the luxury-rustic style that perfectly fits a world of wine that starts in the soil and ends on white tablecloths. Established in 2011, the winery has been on a decade of discovery, experimenting with the bounty of their 28-acre estate and crafting personality-driven wines from cherished terroirs. They are in the process of moving towards a sustainable, organic model under the stewardship of Director of Winemaking, Joe Nielson, as he takes their portfolio of reds, whites and roses to the next level.

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    Ram’s Gate 2014 Chardonnay

    You now have FREE access to nearly 300,000 wine, beer and spirit reviews. Cheers!

    Dark gold in color, this appellation wine is tropical and salty, medium bodied with a strong taste of lemon preserves. Its fuller, richer nature is complemented by fresher streaks of grapefruit and mandarin, with a mineral component of wet stone. Virginie Boone

    • rating

    All tastings reported in the Buying Guide are performed blind. Typically, products are tasted in peer-group flights of from 5-8 samples. Reviewers may know general information about a flight to provide contextvintage, variety or appellationbut never the producer or retail price of any given selection. When possible, products considered flawed or uncustomary are retasted.

    Ratings reflect what our editors felt about a particular product. Beyond the rating, we encourage you to read the accompanying tasting note to learn about a products special characteristics.

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