Ceritas Peter Martin Vineyard Chardonnay 2016
If you want to taste how California Chardonnay has evolved, try this impeccable, cult-y white from the Santa Cruz Mountains. “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 At 1,800 feet Peter Martin Ray vineyard is the highest site Ceritas sources fruit from. One of two sites that they farm in the Santa Cruz mountains, this vineyard is steeped in history dating back to 1943, when stockbroker-turned-winemaker Martin Ray planted the original Chardonnay vines. 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. A few gifted winemakers, namely those at Arnot Roberts, rediscovered these vineyards, and encouraged Ceritas to join in. What makes this fruit so remarkable is a direct result of the vines’ treatment: raw farmed with minimal manmade input; the vines are constantly seeking water, nutrients and sustenance from deep in the hillside. Characterized by small berries on tiny clusters, this fruit yields wine that is distinctive for its salty, mineral palate, persistent flavors and lingering finish.