A few weeks ago, Sue and I shared a bottle of David Ramey’s Pedregal Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon in tribute to a close friend who recently passed away. We don’t normally drink wines of this caliber, mainly because of their rarity and price, but every once in awhile you need drink something extra special, even if it is for a somber occasion. Sue and I looked at sharing this bottle as an enjoyable and memorable celebration of our friend’s life.
David Ramey is considered to be one of vanguards of the American wine industry. For the past three decades he has used old-world techniques that emphasize terroir and applied them to new-world ideas helping elevate the quality and distinction of today’s California wines.
After graduating from UC Davis he worked for Château Pétrus where he learned the time-honored methods of winemaking from France’s top vignerons. After returning from France, David helped establish some of California’s most well-known wineries including: Chalk Hill, Matanzas Creek, Dominus Estate, and Rudd Estate. In 1996, David and his wife Carla started Ramey Wine Cellars with the goal of creating great, terroir-specific wines using David’s unique blend of old and new-world methods.
Located in the town of Healdsburg in north-central Sonoma County, David Ramey and his team make a small variety of high quality, single-vineyard and appellation specific wines including several cabernet sauvignon blends, chardonnays, and a few syrahs. The 2005 Pedregal Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (a blend of 85% cabernet sauvignon and 15% petit verdot) is one of Ramey’s single-vineyard blends from the Pedregal Vineyard, on the stony slopes of Napa Valley’s Oakville district. Through a long-term lease, Ramey Wine Cellars now has complete control over the vineyard and can make all of the critical management and harvesting decisions in order to get the best possible fruit for this unique wine.
It’s deep ruby, almost opaque color exudes a perfume of violets, cassis and dark cherries followed by aromas of coffee and bitter chocolate. The succulent flavors of currants and ripe cherries are quite pronounced with just a touch of sweetness. Undertones of cocoa, coffee, and earthy truffles add amazing complexity with a full-bodied richness that is intense but not overwhelming to the palate. Even at this young age the tannins are silky and very approachable with plenty of aging potential. Paired with a juicy, bone-in rib eye steak, this wine makes a great partner, but there is so much going on here that I would suggest drinking this wine on its own to fully appreciate every little nuance.