An entry level offering from a top producer, this Chardonnay is a consistent winner. (photo by Renee Wilmeth for Wine and Whiskey Globe)

Last week, I visited a restaurant for the first time since what everyone seems to be calling “The Before.” We chose a friendly patio, donned our masks and eased our way into our first summer lunch with a nice bottle—and an old favorite, the 2015 Ramey Sonoma Coast Chardonnay.

You may be familiar with this classic Sonoma wine property. Helmed by winemaking veteran David Ramey, Ramey Wine Cellars sports an incredible reputation for their wines (with prices to match). Known primarily for their age-worthy single-vineyard Chardonnays, Ramey produces some of the most outstanding Chardonnays to be had in California.

This particular wine is an entry level offering for their line (retail $35) and popular in the restaurant market. These wines are nearly always reliable when an occasion calls for a high quality “name” wine. Best of all, it’s a fruit-driven bottling, showing a crisp style, a clear example of the evolution from the over-oaked, California “butter bombs” many top producers were making a decade ago.

I asked George Staikos, Ramey‘s National Sales Manager, if this evolution was purposeful on David Ramey’s part. More specifically, I asked him if I was really noticing a gradual style change in the wines. “Am I crazy?” I asked.

“You are certainly seeing Chardonnay from California in general with more acidity and using less new oak resulting in brighter, more balanced wines that are also lighter in color,” he told me. “So no, you are not crazy.”

With 25 percent of fruit from their Platt Vineyard holdings, the 2015 yields a ripe crispness that makes it a satisfying summer favorite. The nose carries a creaminess backed by pineapple, green apple, unripe peach and an herbal note, but when you taste it, this wine is all ripe fruit—apple, apricot pit, lemon peel, and stones on the finish backed by a lovely crispness as the acid balances it all. 

This 2015 Ramey Wine Cellars Sonoma Coast Chardonnay is a classic Sonoma Chardonnay with all of the best style and quality from one of the top producers in California.  Fresh, easy, and perfect for easing us back into the world.