Raymond Vineyards was founded in 1971 by Roy Raymond and his two sons, and they had their first harvest in 1974. The family has a long history in Napa Valley dating back five generations to the 1930s. When Roy arrived in the Napa Valley, he was hired as a cellar “rat” at age 18 at Beringer Winery the year after prohibition. Beringer was one of those select few Napa wineries that were able to stay open during prohibition by making sacramental and medicinal wine; and the year after prohibition, they were hiring additional employees in anticipation of an increase in production.
While at Beringer, Roy met and married Martha Jane Beringer. After Beringer sold in the early 1970s, the Raymonds were able to purchase 90 acres just south of the town of St. Helena which surrounds the current winery. Currently, Raymond owns over 300 acres in the Napa Valley. They also source fruit from a variety of other vineyards in the valley, ranging from Carneros in the south to Calistoga in the north.
Raymond sold the winery to the well-regarded Boisset family from France in 2009. Jean-Charles Boisset, the president, owns several prominent wineries in the Napa/Sonoma region, including California’s oldest winery, Buena Vista, and the Pinot powerhouse, De Loach Vineyards (both in Sonoma County). Jean-Charles is also married to Gina Gallo, whose family has one of California’s most recognized winery names. Soon after purchasing Raymond, Jean-Charles started converting the 90-acre estate property to organic and biodynamic farming practices. They have started replanting a number of acres on site, and just this past November, Wine Enthusiast named Raymond Vineyards its 2012 American Winery of the Year. The magazine cited the phenomenal wines being produced under the direction of winemaker Stephanie Putnam and her team, as well as the dynamic and engaging new experiences at the winery, designed to educate, entertain and enlighten.
>>The grapes for the Napa Valley Chardonnay come from Raymond’s estate vineyards in Jameson Canyon and select Napa Valley growers. The estate vineyards are planted on rolling hills at the southern end of Napa Valley. Winds flow through Jameson Canyon, carrying in the cooling influence of the nearby Pacific Ocean and providing a long, cool growing season that enhances the intensity of the Chardonnay flavors.
The 2011 Raymond Reserve Selection Napa Valley Chardonnay opens with alluring aromas of orange blossom and honeysuckle. Full-bodied with excellent balance, the wine displays flavors of pear, apple and lemon before ending with a long, rich finish. This versatile wine pairs well with quiche Lorraine, mushroom tart, roast chicken, grilled salmon or halibut, and sautéed Petrale sole.
>>The grapes for the Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon were sourced from Raymond’s estate vineyards in Rutherford and St. Helena, as well as select nearby growers. Full-bodied and elegant, the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon opens with inviting aromas of raspberries and cranberries layered with pleasant notes of white pepper and anise.
On the palate, concentrated flavors of tobacco and dark chocolate intermingle seamlessly before culminating in a smooth, lengthy finish. Because of the well-integrated tannins, this hearty Cabernet Sauvignon displays great structure and would pair perfectly with a grilled rib-eye steak and baked potato.
Raymond Reserve Selection Chardonnay retails around $20, and the Reserve Selection Cabernet Sauvignon retails around $35. These wines can be found at many fine retailers in the Greater Akron area, such as West Point Market, 750 ML, Mustard Seed Market, Papa Joe’s, North End Market, Riverside Wine & Imports and Wine Reserve of Medina.
/ Rob Hawk is a Regional Sales Manager at Wine Trends, Inc.