Ceritas Peter Martin Ray Vineyard Chardonnay 2011
“The mission at Ceritas is to craft single vineyard expressions of place through Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The sources for our fruit along the Sonoma Coast and westernmost Russian River Valley — Porter-Bass, Ritchie, Escarpa, Helgren and Deermeadow — were carefully chosen for their winegrowing merits and also for their singularity. Each allows us the opportunity to craft balanced and distinct wines which will stand out on the dinner table. Just as oysters grown in Tomales Bay taste altogether different from those grown in Puget Sound, our wines are reflective of the growing seasons and soils from which they came.
In the vineyard we allow our sustainable farming practices to be dictated by observation and empiricism rather than by prescriptive farming. All of our vineyard sites are either farmed bio-dynamically or are in the initial stages of being converted to biodynamic farming methods. We believe that biodynamic farming methods, and focused and site-specific attention, give the vines the greatest opportunity to experience each growing season, to respond accordingly, and ultimately to yield grapes with the unmistakable flavors and smells of their time and place.
In the winery, we keep things simple. We look at winemaking from a standpoint that owes more to tradition than it does to cutting-edge innovation — we more often find ourselves trying to understand what not to do rather than what to do. The crafting of each vintage is like a journey, in which nature sets its own course. Our role is to adapt, to proceed with humility, and to learn.”
–John Raytek & Phoebe Bass, owners
A rugged and topographically diverse cool-climate appellation with a rich history, the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA stretches from Half Moon Bay, just south of San Francisco, to the northern border of Monterey County. Elevations range from 800 feet to upwards of 3,000 and microclimates vary substantially depending on which side of the mountains the vineyards lie; cool ocean winds and fog play an important role here. This can be a challenging region in which to grow grapes, but it is well worth the effort. Santa Cruz Mountains wines are noted for balanced acidity levels, often showing great aging potential. Wine has been made here since the 1800s, most notably from the legendary Ridge Vineyards, whose Monte Bello vineyard garners international admiration.
Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are the stars of this region, while Merlot and Zinfandel also perform quite well. Organic and sustainable vineyard practices are becoming increasingly common.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.