Back in the mid-90’s when we subscribed to The Wine Spectator, their annual Top 100 Wines issue landed in our mailbox and on the cover this particular year was a Northern California chardonnay (not naming names). As good luck would have it, a few days later we found a couple bottles on the shelf at CalMart! We excitedly dashed home to open it, expecting to be blown away. In reality it was dreadful: oaky, buttery and hot. It was, as SF Chronicle wine columnist Esther Mobley has noted, a buttery chardonnay that was “the vinous equivalent of a perm and glittery shoulder pads.”
But this Ceritas chardonnay is not that wine. It’s the polar opposite, a straight razor shave and vintage denim jacket. We roll out the word exquisite and throw elegant for good measure when describing this wine, but Carson Demmond says it best in Decanter:
John Raytek’s are simply some of the purest, most penetrating, and deeply mineral examples of Chardonnay, anywhere.
Co-sign. And yes, if you love buttery chardonnay, more power to you. Drink what you like is our motto.
We first tasted this chardonnay upon release in 2016 and it was one of those, OMG! transcendent bottles that you remember forever and chisel it into your taste memory. Luckily we had ordered a few more bottles too, and we’ve been sitting on them ever since, waiting for a “special occasion.” A pandemic Thanksgiving certainly qualifies, so here we are. And we’re chiseling the word lovely into to that taste memory too.
We ordered this wine directly from Ceritas Wines.