Buena Vista Carneros Winery
2005 Ramal Vineyard Merlot
Merlot •Ramal Vineyard
California: Sonoma County: Carneros
What We Say
Exclusive Wine Alert
Today’s wine is only available directly from the winery – or HERE. The Wine Spies have scooped another great exclusive wine!
Superior Wine Alert
We always feature the best wines that we can find, once each day, but today’s wine is really an exceptional treat
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Clever Operatives who buy 6 or more bottles today, will be rewarded with Free Ground Shipping – but only if they enter coupon code: SUPERSONOMA
Mission Codename: True Virtue
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Infiltrate Buena Vista Carneros, where scenes from the feature film, Bottle Shock, were recently filmed. Once inside, secure a winery exclusive wine for our eager Operatives
Sleuth out an exceptional Sonoma County Merlot for our thirsty Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Buena Vista Carneros
Wine Subject: 2005 Ramal Vineyard Merlot – Carneros – Estate Vineyard Series
Winemaker: Jeff Stewart
Backgrounder: With over 1000 acres planted in the pristine grape growing region, Carneros, in Sonoma County, California, Buena Vista Carneros has been perfecting the art of grape growing and winemaking since 1969. Buena Vista is able to finesse the best expression of quality and brilliance from their estate grown grapes, delivering fine wines of remarkable distinction and quality. Today, Agent Red visits with Buena Vista and manages to return with a winery exclusive wine, making it available to you outside of the winery for the first time ever. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report immediately following to learn more about this wine – and why Merlot is such an important – and great varietal
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Inky garnet to ruby red with a dark heart, this wine has a very springy surface, deep red edges edges and fat and skinny legs that run down the glass at different speeds
Smell – Lushly layered with deep and rich aromas of rose petal, jammy dark cherry and blackberry, mixed spice, cedar, dusky blackberry and mild dark chocolate shavings
Feel – A tender mouth-feel at first, then slightly grippy with an initial wetness that is fast replaced by medium tannins and an all-over-mouth coating effect that I really enjoy
Taste – A bright burst of natural flavors, with dark ripe stonefruit, dark cherry, mild cigar box, fresh/mild mixed salad herbs and mildest sweet tobacco
Finish – Cool and fresh, then slightly drying and airy with flavors that taper off slowly
Conclusion – This is an exceptional Merlot, from a region that is fast becoming a Wine Spy favorite, Carneros. The region is best known, perhaps for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but the Merlots we have tasted from there are outrageously good. Today’s wine shows the regional influence, but also the quality of the fruit and the skill of the winemaker, Jeff Stewart. If you love bright, delicious and perfectly balanced wines with deep aromatics, this evenly integrated wine is a certain winner. With enough brightness and acidity to make this a perfect food wine, you’ll enjoy it with a rich meal, lighter fair or even on its own.
Its been a whirlwind month. Since late July, life as a Wine Spy has been very rewarding, but very very full.
For those of you that saw me on the front page of the Napa Valley Register, you know that I have been rubbing elbows with the Hollywood crowd. You’ll also know that the newspaper thought that they had been able to blow my cover. They insisted on printing my real name but I gave them a pseudonym instead.
The picture of me standing with Alan Rickman did look pretty cool, but I must say that Mr. Rickman seemed pretty bored with the entire event.
We were all there to celebrate the opening of a new feature film called Bottle Shock, which is about a very crucial turning point in wine history: In a blind taste of American Wine vs. French Wine, American Wine – specifically California Wine – won!
The Judgment of Paris as it was called, shook the wine world to its core! California’s finest had won against some of the most prestigious French Domaines. For a great look into this compelling story, see the movie!
So, what does today’s winery have to do with the movie, you ask?
Bottle Shock was shot in the Northern California locations of Napa, Sonoma, Calistoga and Carneros, including several days of filming at Buena Vista Winery’s stunning property in Carneros. “The land is a powerful character in this movie,” says the producer of the film. “I knew I needed to shoot from a helicopter to capture the breadth and scope of its awesome glory.”
I’ve seen the property, and the region, from our Wine Spies’ Spy Plane (see previous mission reports for details about our airplane) and I must agree, the Buena Vista property is spectacular. You don’t need to see it from the air to be impressed, though, a visit to the winery will delight all of your senses.
Today’s wine was secured through covert means and we are grateful to the winery for allowing us to bring you this very special winery exclusive. The only places in the world where you can buy this wine is right here – right now – or at the winery itself.
Grab some, dear Operative, for we are certain that we have the better price on the wine!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of Buena Vista’s Ramal Vineyard can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
The 2005 vintage gave us aromas of rich black fruits and jammy black cherry punctuated by dried herb and chocolate notes. With an appealing “brightness”, this wine fills the mouth with black cherry, cigar box and spice over deeper soy and tobacco notes, leading to a long finish that shows round, full tannins. Pair with rich, substantial dishes such as butterflied lamb on the barbecue or wild game – particularly good with a berry reduction.
About The Winery:
As we celebrate our 150th year as California’s first premium winery, the focus of Buena Vista Carneros continues to turn to our remarkable 1000-acre Estate vineyard in the heart of Carneros. Set along a south-facing hillside overlooking the San Pablo Bay, this breathtaking property has more than 167 blocks delineated by geology and topography. Produced in limited quantities, each EVS wine reflects the complex interplay between grape, terroir and the seasonal weather patterns of vintage.
The grapes were hand harvested on October 19th, then cold soaked for five days to maximize color and flavor extraction. Fermentation took place in small open-top fermenters with the cap punched down three times a day plus daily rack-and-return (delestage) to broaden the texture and complexity of the wine. After 28 days on skins, the wine was matured in French and American oak barrels (80% new, 20% 1-year-old) for 18 months.
Viticulture, Science & Artistry – While the Carneros climate provides an amazing array of flavors and textures, it is in the winery that this palette of flavors is truly expressed. We are fortunate that our vineyards are in the heart of one of the most celebrated appellations in the world. Guided by our new winemaker Jeff Stewart, each and every step of our winemaking process is designed to articulate the exceptional character of Carneros fruit.
About The Winemaker:
Few winemakers will disagree that cool–climate wines like Pinot Noir are the most difficult to produce. And fewer still will disagree that Jeff Stewart does so with unparalleled success. Fresh off an award-winning tenure at La Crema and a graduate of the prestigious University of California at Davis, Jeff comes to Buena Vista with 15 years’ achievement in cool–climate viticulture. His focus on gentle handling of the grapes and temperature moderation produces wines with complexity, character and depth.
Composition: 100% Merlot
Winemaker: Jeff Stewart
Case Production: 469
Bottled: August 14, 2007