Ceritas is a stunning producer of very cool-climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from sites along the northern Californian coast. Led by husband and wife duo, John and Phoebe Raytek, the wines are not typically Californian. The Chardonnays channel all the focus and salinity of the Pacific Ocean. Crushed chalk, oyster shell and lime zest are typical characters on the palate, closer in style to Grand Cru Chablis than anywhere else in Burgundy. Just fantastic wines to enjoy over several hours.
The whites are fermented with all native yeast in neutral French oak. After 12 months in French oak, they are racked to stainless barrels, where they stay until bottling. The Pinots are also fermented with all native yeast. Fermentation is typically composed of 40-80% whole cluster based on the vineyard and vintage. They use 25% new French oak on the reds.
The Carex vineyard was planted in 2004, using a special selection of Old Wente Chardonnay which was renowned for producing tiny clusters of zippy Chardonnay. The site is planted meter by meter requiring the vines to only ripen 10-12 clusters, resulting in a depth of flavour and complexity that is similar to Porter-Bass. Being so closely planted, the fruit sees little in the way of direct sunlight allowing the skins to thicken and provide a tannic backbone which should result in a wine from this vineyard ageing a long time
The 2020 Chardonnay Carex is bright and nicely focused. Slate, crushed rocks, mint, white pepper and sage lend quite a bit of tension to this mid-weight, nervy Chardonnay. I suppose there could be a bit more to the mid-palate, but this is a very, very good wine for the year.93 Points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous