A few years ago I came across Ceritas in California and loved their wines. We are now delighted to have them available in the UK, led by husband and wife duo, John and Phoebe Raytek. These are deeply intense Chardonnays that channel all the focus and salinity of the Pacific with laser-like precision. Crushed chalk, oyster shell and lime zest are typical characters of these wines, not your usual Californian styles at all.
'Being objective about this site is impossible for us: Phoebe grew up here after her parents moved from the east coast in 1980 expressly to farm this land. Why a family would uproot and relocate to a farm near the quiet town of Forestville is a story in itself. Suffice it to say that the lure of restoring an abandoned property on rolling hills, surrounded by redwood forest, a mere eight miles inland from the Pacific Ocean was simply too great to resist. And so the restoration began in 1980.
Perched like a saddle between ridgelines in Pocket Canyon, the site is the beneficiary of cooling morning and afternoon fog, which rolls in reliably from the ocean. Shale and fractured sandstone soils are well suited to the Chardonnay planted in 1980 to the Old Wente Clone, followed in 2001 by Pinot Noir plantings of Swan and Calera clones. The vineyard is farmed biodynamically, with our blocks located on the north facing side, allowing for an extended growing season."
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 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 flavours 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.'
Origin: Sonoma Coast / California