2018 Ceritas "Peter Martin Ray Vineyard" Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains
Lot’s of people talk about “Burgundian” wines in California and Oregon, but very few truly bring the wines of Burgundy to mind. And it’s not their fault. The technique is amazing, but the climates are different. But…if there were American wines that brought to mind the wines of Burgundy, Ceritas would be near the very top. Crisp, mineral, with just the right amount of California sunshine: Ceritas Chardonnays are likely the closest thing America has to Grand Cru Chablis. The Pinot Noirs are a thing of beauty. Rich on the front, but super bright and elegant on the finish. Ceritas means “mineral expression of the soil.” That sounds just about right. The owners are John Raytek (also the winemaker) and his spouse Phoebe Bass. John cut his teeth at as the assistant winemaker at Copain and later helped plant the vineyards at Rhys.
"Nestled high in the hills at 1,800 feet, above the town of Saratoga, lays Peter Martin Ray vineyard, our highest site., This vineyard is steeped in history dating back to 1920s when stockbroker-turned-winemaker Martin Ray planted the original Chardonnay vines. It was a brave venture to plant in such meager Franciscan shale soils without any measurable topsoil.
When Martin Ray’s son, Peter Martin Ray, took over the farming of this site, he replanted to the Mt. Eden clone of Chardonnay in the early 1980s and continued to work the Rixford clone Cabernet Sauvignon planted in the 1920’s. What makes this fruit so remarkable is a direct result of the vines’ constant struggle: raw farmed with minimal manmade input; the vines are constantly seeking water, nutrients, and sustenance from deep in the hillside. The Chardonnay is characterized by small berries on tiny clusters, this fruit yields a wine that is distinctive for its salty, mineral palate, persistent flavors, and lingering finish. The Cabernet Sauvignon is a throwback to the earliest Cabernet Sauvignon made in California. It is taught, vibrant and boasts refined tannins and singularity unlike any other Cabernet other than the neighboring Ridge Monte Bello wines." -- Winery