Lightning in a Bottle

Today’s Story: Ceritas Wines

I previously wrote about Ceritas back in June when I reviewed the 2017 Porter-Bass Vineyard Pinot Noir, and more recently when I reviewed the 2016 Peter Martin Ray Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. As these wines can be hard to come by off the mailing list or in restaurants, I jumped at the opportunity to revisit them again today.

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.

Today’s Wine: 2016 Trout Gulch Vineyard Chardonnay

100% Chardonnay; 12.5% ABV

The 2016 Trout Gulch Chardonnay is transparent medium gold/yellow in color with water white variation along the edges of the glass. When I first pulled the cork, I felt like I was in Chassagne or Puligny, however given 30-45 minutes to open up this wine transported me to Chablis and I never wanted to leave. The nose is one that could bring a tear to a glass eye, showcasing aromas of lemon curd, Golden Delicious apple, ripe pear, stone fruit, white wildflower, flint rock, white smoke, shaved vanilla bean, cream, saline solution, and briny mineral. And if you haven’t already, break out the tissues because the palate displays notes of yellow apple, quince, lemon and lime zest, peach, white florals, incense, dill, limestone, wet slate, seashell, saline mineral, and white exotic spice. This is medium-bodied with high acidity (which I’ll touch on in a second), a perfectly rounded mouthfeel, and a long finish of about 1 minute. While a chuggable wine, you would immediately regret “wasting” something so pure if you went that route. Oh and yes, the wine’s acidity demands that I address it alone. Is it racy like a Formula 1 car heading to the finish? Is it like sucking on a mouthful of razor blades? Is it like drinking liquid lightning? Or is it perhaps all of the above? Please, you tell me. But while I wait, at risk of attack, I’ll say this is probably the greatest domestic Chardonnay I’ve ever had.

Price: $80. Just buy it if you get the chance.