"David Ramey has long had one of the most impressive resumes for any California winemaker. He worked at Chateau Petrus in Bordeaux and for Christian Moueix at Dominus. He also consulted and worked for a number of high end Napa Valley wineries. Of course, his first love is Ramey Wine Cellars, and he has built an extensive empire of Chardonnays, Cabernet Sauvignons and more recently Syrahs as well as a tiny quantity of Pinot Noir (talk about going to the dark side). I tasted through his 2011 Chardonnays, which are successful in this challenging vintage. The generic Chardonnays spend 12 months in 25% new oak and the single vineyard cuvees spend 20 or more months in 50% new oak. All of the whites are fermented with indigenous yeasts. Ramey’s early experience was primarily with Bordeaux varietals, so it’s not surprising that he continues to do a stunning job with his assortment of Bordeaux-based wines. As one might expect, the 2011s are soft, easy-to-drink efforts that many consumers may find more appealing than the 2010s, which are much bigger, richer and more classic."