Santa Cruz Mountain Chardonnay With a Burgundian Flair

Today’s Story: Ceritas Wines

Ceritas Wines is a small, family-owned winery spearheaded by husband and wife duo John and Phoebe Raytek. John and Phoebe source their fruit from trusted vintners mainly in the West Sonoma Coast and Santa Cruz Mountains, with all sites practicing sustainable or organic viticulture. John is highly involved in the vineyards they source from, and in many cases the vintners only sell fruit to Ceritas and are labeled “Monopoles.” Considering himself a winemaker of the Old World style, John believes that fruit should lead the way throughout the winemaking process and he is merely there to watch over, listen, and learn about each unique site. In the cellar, John practices minimal intervention but “flexible” winemaking, with the wines meant to showcase with honesty and transparency the terroir of each specific vineyard site.

If this backstory sounds familiar, perhaps you know of Ceritas or perhaps you’ve read my prior reviews of their wines. I previously wrote about the 2017 Porter-Bass Vineyard Pinot Noir, the 2016 Peter Martin Ray Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, and most recently the 2016 Trout Gulch Vineyard Chardonnay.

To discover more, such as detailed descriptions of each vineyard site or view the other wines in the Ceritas portfolio, check out their website here.

Today’s Wine: 2017 Peter Martin Ray Vineyard Chardonnay

100% Chardonnay; 13.3% ABV

The 2017 Peter Martin Ray Vineyard Chardonnay is transparent pale gold in color. This took about 45 minutes to really blossom in the glass, with the nose eventually opening up to showcase medium intense aromas of yellow apple, lemon, white peach, honeysuckle, flint, wet stone, dried vanilla, and a hint of smoke. Meanwhile the flavors on the palate are quite pronounced, with notes of crisp yellow apple, white peach, lemon, a touch of pineapple, honeysuckle, dill, flint, and a hint of stony mineral. This dry Chardonnay is medium-bodied with high acidity, medium alcohol, and a long finish.

Price: $65. This is a really, really good bottle from Ceritas again. With time in the bottle this should add extra gorgeous complexities and the acidic backbone should help it hold up as the wine develops. This being said though, I think I’d pay the slightly higher secondary market price for the Trout Gulch Chardonnay (though both Chards released the other week at $59 each on the mailing list). Though a year older, the 2016 Trout Gulch I had not too long ago seems to be in a class of its own and that seems to be the general consensus vintage after vintage.

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