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sauvignon blanc, high valley –

  • Wine Spectator | MaryAnn Worobiec | December 2017
    • #32 of Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2017

    • Focused and precise, with detailed lemon meringue, orange blossom and lime zest flavors that are intense, fragrant and harmonious on the long, crisp finish. Drink now. 2,198 cases made.—91 pts & a “Smart Buy” recommendation
  • Blue Lifestyle | Anthony Dias Blue | May 2017
    • Silky and smooth with juicy acidity and racy minerals; balanced and fresh with elegant character; long and lovely. – 92pts
  • “David Ramey Cuts Loose”| Eat Drink Journal and Palm Beach Illustrated | Mark Spivak | May 2, 2017
    • The 2015 High Valley is elegant and composed, with flavors of lemon, lime and grapefruit highlighted by good acidity.
  • Wine Enthusiast | Jim Gordon | March 2017
    • This is an outstanding choice for people who appreciate a really crisp and electric white wine. Lean in flavor and light in body, this wine is bright and refreshing to sip, alive with good acidity and light citrus flavors that light up all corners of the mouth. – 90 pts & Editor’s Choice
  • Cape Gazette | John McDonald | January 2017
    • Keep your eyes peeled for David Ramey’s Sidebar High Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2014. We know Ramey is very well known for his Chardonnay production. His venture into SB has met with great success. Critics scored Sidebar as one of the top five High Valley wines. The juice was sourced from Ritchie Vineyards and Brassfield Estate in Lake County. Brassfield is one of the highest-elevation Cali Coastal vineyards at 1,800 feet. The cooler climates under the drought conditions in Cali the past few years have given us a run of delicious varietal white wines.This Sidebar pours pale lemon-colored with a pleasing bouquet of citrus and stony minerality. On the palate, tangy citrus and melon flavors ride an extra-dry frame. Oak aging and lie stirring deliver a lovely, creamy texture supported by bright acidity and a clean, long, mineral finish; 89 McD under $19.
  • The Nittany Epicurean | Michael Chelus | May 2016
    • The wine showed a pale straw color. Apple, lime zest, slate and whiffs of stone fruit could each be found on the nose. Apple, lime, kiwi, slate and hints of stone fruit followed on the palate with the essence of peach lingering on the finish. The wine exhibited good acidity and minerality, along with average structure and length. This wine would be an excellent aperitif on a hot afternoon and would pair well with freshly shucked oysters or grilled shrimp.
  • The Planet Grape | Catherine Fallis | March 2016
    • Pithy, chewy, understated and dry with notes of pink grapefruit, lemon crème, starfruit, chamomile, dried herbs and petrol. – 91 pts
  • Wine of the Week”  | The Press Democrat | Peg Melnik | April 28, 2015
  • Wine Spectrum | April 2015
    • Grown at an elevation of 1800 feet, our Sauvignon Blanc shows classic varietal character without exaggeration. Hand harvested at 22.2 brix and whole-cluster pressed for delicacy, native yeasts fermented this wine in both stainless steel and older oak barrels. Aged sur lies for four months, this wine has a beautiful texture with a crisp, bright finish. – 92+pts
  • The Corkscrewer Report | Ryan Koczara & Johannes Marlena | November 2015
    • A departure from the exaggerated Sauvignon Blancs that California is known for (meaning, overly bombastic or overly sweet). Ramey: “This is Sauvignon Blanc you can live with.” Indeed, this is very cleanly dry and natural, with minerality that’s almost spritzy. It’s also bright, cheery, citrusy, flavorful and stylish, and meant for a good time with friends (at a hotel pool party on the Vegas Strip, perhaps?). Sidebar’s signature white wine. – 91 pts
  • Wine Enthusiast | Jim Gordon | October 2015
    • A lean and energized style of wine from David Ramey, this has lots of zesty and focused citrus aromas and flavors, a very crisp texture and clean, tangy finish. It is ideal as an apéritif or will pair nicely with seafood and salads.

sauvignon blanc, ritchie vineyard, russian river valley –

  • Wine Enthusiast | Virginie Boone | August 2017
    • Finding wine from this vineyard site at this price is unheard of and reason enough to jump on this bottling. It also happens to taste great—a combination of melon and preserved lemon flavor, with spicy acidity and a lift of grapefruit peel and wet stone that keeps it exotic.- 91 pts
  • “25 New Red and White Wines From 6 Countries” | The Daily Meal | Roger Morris | June 1, 2017
    • Full and herbal; a little slack in the middle, but with a good zip in the finish.
  • Blue Lifestyle | Anthony Dias Blue | May 2017
    • Silky and crisp, juicy and smooth; bright and fresh, balanced and long. – 92pts
  • “David Ramey Cuts Loose”| Eat Drink Journal and Palm Beach Illustrated | Mark Spivak | May 2, 2017
    • The 2015 Ritchie Vineyard is nearly explosive: vibrant and edgy, displaying citrus flavors and ripe melon notes. Both are good alternatives to the nearly ubiquitous New Zealand version of the grape.
  • “Side Show” | Bohemian | James Knight | May 24, 2017
    • Lean and zesty, layering thyme over citrus notes, the 2015 Ritchie Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc ($34) sits on the fence between an herbal and tropical style. Ramey has purchased Chardonnay from grower Kent Ritchie for years—with Sidebar, he couldn’t pass up a little Sauvignon Blanc: “Why not?”
  • vinous | Antonio Galloni | March 2017
    • The 2015 Sauvignon Blanc Ritchie Vineyard offers lovely density and
      richness. Here, too, the wine offers plenty of depth and texture. The style favors more fruit and richness over the greener, grassier characteristics that are found in Sauvignon Blanc. – 90 pts
  • Blue Lifestyle | Anthony Dias Blue | December 2016
    • Silky texture, juicy citrus, spice and bright acidity; fresh, balanced and lush; This Dave Ramey’s second label. – 92 pts
  • The Planet Grape | Catherine Fallis | March 2016
    • Delicate, subtle, tart and dry with notes of lemon zest, mandarin, strawberry sorbet, red rose, scrub, sage and cumin. – 91 pts
  • Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine | Charles Olken & Stephen Eliot | February 2016
    • A beautifully balanced, solidly yet richly constructed Sauvignon Blanc from a superb vineyard, this fabulous bottling produced by the equally superb David Ramey, whose wines under his own eponymously named label have racked up some of the highest praise seen in these pages, is yet another big-time star from his stable. Although a wine of restrained ripeness, at 13.5% alcohol, it shows as open, rich and complex with admirable volume and depth, and yet there is balance rather than sprawl at every turn. Its Sauvignon Blanc greens make their presence known as does a fair dollop of oak, and even in its youthful state, there is plenty of sophistication with more to come over time. We will drink it now, and we will save some in the cellar. – 93 pts
  • Wine Review Online | Linda Murphy | December 2015
    • Young, densely planted vines above Lake Mendocino are the source of this Rhône-style blend of Mourvedre, Grenache and Syrah.  Lush, ripe red and black fruit, supple tannins, and hints of earth, leather, licorice and Asian spice make for an easy-drinking yet layered wine that finishes with a mouthwatering kick.  It’s from renowned Sonoma/Napa winemaker David Ramey, who employs his Sidebar label to explore under-appreciated regions, vineyards and grape varieties in California. – 91 pts
  • The Corkscrewer Report | Ryan Koczara & Johannes Marlena | November 2015
    • Fermented in concrete eggs and unfiltered, this wine achieves a richness in tone plus a mineral quality that’s a real trip. If the High Valley, above, is made in a California style, this is pure French Loire Valley (e.g. Sancerre) style. Ramey: “This reminds me of a Pouilly-Fumé.” Supremely dry with power and kick. – 91 pts

rosé, russian river valley –

  • Wine Industry Advisor | Laura Ness | September 11, 2017 | Rosé Revealed: 9 Winemakers Share Their Styles & Approaches
  • Wine Enthusiast | Virginie Boone | August 2017
    • Made entirely from Syrah grown on two vineyard sites, then fermented and aged in stainless steel, this wine is light pink-orange in color and begins with a robust flavor of hazelnut and savory lemon peel. Dry and crisp, it remains lighthearted in the glass, finishing with a tease of grapefruit. – 91pts
  • “Wine of the Week” | Press Democrat | Peg Melnik | June 19, 2017
    • This rosé is 100% syrah, and it has aromas and flavors of raspberry, cranberry and pepper. It’s a rosé that has great quench — pitch perfect balance. Striking. ★★★★
  • “50 Best Rosés for Summer” | The Daily Meal | Colman Andrews | June 9, 2017
    • A quite, dry syrah rosé with aromas of grass, smoke, and cherries, followed by a delicate but intricate weave of berry flavors, with a touch of peach and good acidity.
  • “Wine, etc.: Rosé is more than just French, it’s global” | Capital Gazette | Tom Marquardt and Patrick Darr | May 30, 2017
    • Made from syrah, this dry California rosé is darker and heavier on the palate with big strawberry and raspberry flavors and crisp acidity.
  • “Five Wine Trends That Will Shape your Summertime Drinking” | Forbes | Brian Freedman | May 26, 2017
    • This summer, look for American bottlings from producers better known for their notable reds: The Sidebar Russian River Valley 2016, from winemaker David Ramey, is a lovely Syrah-based wine.
  • “Side Show” | Bohemian | James Knight | May 24, 2017
    • Also dry, the 2016 Russian River Valley Rosé comes from a flagging vineyard that used to go to cult Syrah, but now ripens grapes just enough for fine, crisp rosé.
  • “16 rosé wines to pop open for Mother’s Day or spring or anytime” | Chicago Tribune | Michael Austin | May 4, 2017
    • This 100 percent syrah from Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley offered an intriguing mix of hay, fennel, floral notes, dried cherries, stone fruits and zingy acidity.
  • “David Ramey Cuts Loose”| Eat Drink Journal and Palm Beach Illustrated | Mark Spivak | May 2, 2017
    • The 2016 Rosé, made from old-vine Syrah, is crisp and structured, with tart notes of red currants and flavors of red cherries.
  • “In a World of Rosé, Try These Six; Fried Catfish Optional” | Grape Collective | Dorothy J. Gaiter | April 21, 2017
    • Sidebar Cellars was started in 2014 by veteran winemaker David Ramey and his wife, Clara, who founded Ramey Wine Cellars in 1996 in Healdsburg. Sidebar wines are from different grape varieties than those used for Ramey wines. Sidebar wines are made by Lydia Cummins, who has worked with David Ramey since 2008. David is credited with doing groundbreaking work with sur lie aging. That’s when winemakers leave the sediment that results during fermentation, stuff like dead yeast cells, in contact with the wine for added complexity and then drain the wine off. This rosé was aged sur lie in stainless steel barrels for three months. “Crisp, dry and clean. Even some seashells. Great acidity, pink grapefruit, nice weight. Someone really cared about this. It’s made by someone who likes rosé,” we wrote in our notes.
  • “14 Enticing California Rosés” | Wine Spectator | Tim Fish | March 27, 2017
    • Lively yet precise, with smoky raspberry aromas and zesty pepper, cherry and cranberry flavors. Drink now.
  • Wine of the Week”  | The Press Democrat | Peg Melnik | July 4, 2016
  • The Corkscrewer Report | Johannes Marlena | June, 2016
    • Picture, if you will, a Mission . . . somewhere in northern California. Early morning light filters through the red of the stained glass window, creating an orange-ish pink glow in the sanctuary. That’s the color of this wine. The organ plays warm, bright chords of a fugue—that’s the enlivening, uplifting quality of the fruit flavor: pink grapefruit, yellow peach and orange blossom zingy on the palate. This is dry Rosé, lean and focused, but full of life. SIDEBAR is the second wine label from pioneer California winemaker David Ramey, and you should know by now that there’s no wine that comes from Ramey that doesn’t command a certain level of sensuality. The vibrant fruit quality of the Russian River Syrah in this 2015 Rosé really is the standout aspect of the wine—sumptuous and forthright with scintillating acidity. Stands out from the crowd because it manages to achieve a level of sophistication while being an unbridled expression of joy.  –91 pts
  • The Planet Grape | Catherine Fallis | March 2016
    • Delicate, subtle, tart and dry with notes of lemon zest, mandarin, strawberry sorbet, red rose, scrub, sage and cumin. – 91 pts
  • “The Shades of Summer Rose” | Wine Enthusiast | Virginie Boone | June 2015
  • 5 Perfect Bottles for Spring” | Wine Enthusiast | The Editors of Wine Enthusiast | May 2015
  • Wine Enthusiast | Virginie Boone | May 2015
    • Grab some strawberries, peaches and nectarines. Such prizes should inspire a wine equal in divine freshness, like this rosé made from 100-percent Syrah. Not a saignée, the dry, succulent quaffer offers as much crisp, juicy flavor as your fruit, and is enlivened by acidity as refreshing as lemonade. – 91 pts
  • The Corkscrewer Report | Ryan Koczara & Johannes Marlena | November 2015
    • Rosé of exceptional character, comprised entirely of Syrah from the Russian River Valley. Exciting nose exhibiting aromas of young cherry, pomegranate and pink roses. Bone-dry but a pleasant fullness on the palate. No residual sugar at all with elegant fruit essence. David Ramey says this wine was made to pair with food. You’ll be inspired, dreaming of the possibilities. – 91 pts
  • Vinous | Josh Raynolds | April 2015
    • Vivid orange-pink. Intense red berry and potpourri scents are complicated by suggestions of anise and white pepper. Silky and seamless on the palate, offering energetic raspberry and bitter cherry flavors that flesh out with air. Powerful yet lithe wine with strong closing thrust and lingering spiciness. This wine is from a new project for old-timer David Ramey, one of California’s most experienced and respected winemakers. – 90 pts
  • The California Grapevine | Nick Ponomareff | May 2015
    • Pretty, bright pinkish salmon color; floral, candied red berry fruit aroma; medium body; tight, crisp, red fruit flavors with earthy and mineral notes; lingering aftertaste. Highly recommended. – 89 pts
  • Wine Spectator | Tim Fish | May 2015

kerner, mokelumne river, lodi –

  • “Side Show” | Bohemian | James Knight | May 24, 2017
    • Sourced from a rare planting of this German Riesling hybrid, the 2016 Mokelumne River Kerner hints at its parentage with a whiff of jasmine and pineapple. The lemon drop finish is not sweet, and, wow, it’s tart.
  • “David Ramey Cuts Loose”| Eat Drink Journal and Palm Beach Illustrated | Mark Spivak | May 2, 2017
    • The 2016 (Kerner) reveals floral notes and aromas of melon and white pepper on the nose. The wine makes a vivid palate imprint, with suggestions of passion fruit tempered by pepper and spice. It will wake you up and energize you—and if you don’t have any oysters handy, it will inspire you to search for some.
  • Rameys Have Fun With A Serious Sidebar Kerner | Bottle Report | Dennis Sodomka | April 25, 2017
    • It is a rich wine, without the oak or heavy buttery flavor you sometimes get with chardonnay. It is bone dry, but has a full mouthfeel. The crispness and mineral tones keep it from overwhelming your taste buds.
  • Wine Enthusiast | Jim Gordon | March 2017
    • An apple scent and crisp, fruity, lightly herbal flavors lend plenty of refreshment to this graceful, medium-bodied and unoaked wine. It has great acidity and a dry but not austere personality. Kerner is a cross of the German grape varieties Riesling and Trollinger. – 90 pts
  • The Planet Grape | Catherine Fallis | March 2016
    • Tart, pithy, dry and vibrantly juicy with notes of lemon bar, honey tangerine, sage blossom, pine needle, banana and nilla wafer. – 91 pts
  • Winemakers Seek Lodi-Grown German Varieties North Coast producers release rare wines from Mokelumne Glen” | Wines & Vines |Ted Rieger  | June 21, 2015
  • Celebrated winemaker David Ramey releases his first Lodi grown Kerner” | Lodi Wine | Randy Caparoso | February 28, 2015
  • Restaurant Wine | Ronn Wiegand | Issues #160, #161 & #162 | August 2015
    • Fine quality: dry, fragrant, and well balanced; a full bodied wine with excellent depth and flavor (apple, honeysuckle, lime, lemon peel), and a long finish. Great value. Kerner is a Riesling x Trollinger cross. Aged on its lees for 3 months in stainless steel barrels. – 4+ stars
  • The Corkscrewer Report | Ryan Koczara & Johannes Marlena | November 2015
    • Unfamiliar with the Kerner grape variety? Don’t feel bad, you’re not the only one. Sourced from the only Kerner planting in the U.S., in Lodi, California, this unique crossing of German grapes was only introduced to this country about four years ago. What does it remind us of? Well, if a Riesling (the nose) could procreate with a Gewurztraminer (the body), this might be their offspring. A delightfully crisp and clean dry white wine with graceful minerality and solid backbone. Notes of white peach and mandarin orange. Scintillatingly fresh. Only 98 cases produced. – 92 pts

red field blend, russian river valley –

  • Wine Enthusiast | Virginie Boone | August 2017
    • Made by David Ramey, this blend of 80% Zinfandel, 11% Alicante and 9% Petite Sirah impresses in its fruit-forward approachability and all-around likability. Earthy, it teases in dark cherry, vanilla and milk-chocolate flavors, the texture smoothly etched in fine leather. Editors’ Choice. — 90 pts & Editor’s Choice
  • Sunset Magazine | “Why You Should Put Zinfandel Back in Your Wine Rotation” | Sara Schneider | June 13, 2017
    • A new anise-spiced, tangy-berried blend (80 percent Zin plus Alicante Bouschet and Petite Sirah) from NorCal wine legend David Ramey.
  • “25 New Red and White Wines From 6 Countries” | The Daily Meal | Roger Morris | June 1, 2017
    • Rich and long, concentrated but not heavy, with raspberry flavors and buttermilky tanginess.
  • “Side Show” | Bohemian | James Knight | May 24, 2017
    • Everything you want from a barbecue-ready Zinfandel, Sidebar’s 2015 Russian River Valley Red Field Blend hits the spot with spicy, tangy red fruit smoothed out with milk chocolate undertones.
  • “David Ramey Cuts Loose”| Eat Drink Journal and Palm Beach Illustrated | Mark Spivak | May 2, 2017
    • Black plum, raspberry jam and bramble are prominent on the nose of Sidebar’s 2015 Red Field Blend. The fruit was sourced from a heritage vineyard in Russian River, an echo of Sonoma’s past. The wine is medium to full-bodied in the mouth, with ripe black fruit flavors, mature tannins and a nice spicy edge. Like the rest of the Sidebar wines, it has a firm palate imprint without being heavy or fat. You can almost taste the dust here, and the wine cries out for barbecue.
  • The Planet Grape | Catherine Fallis | March 2016
    • Softly textured and delicate with notes of raspberry, cherry, blueberry and cocoa powder. – 90 pts
  • Blue Lifestyle | Anthony Dias Blue | September 2016
    • Juicy and ripe with blackberry, spice and racy acidity; tangy, bright and silky with smooth texture and a long, precise finish. – 90 pts
  • The Planet Grape | Catherine Fallis | March 2016
    • Softly textured and delicate with notes of raspberry, cherry, blueberry and cocoa powder. – 90 pts
  • The Corkscrewer Report | Ryan Koczara & Johannes Marlena | November 2015
    • An unfiltered wine from old vines, comprised of 78% Zinfandel, 10% Alicante Bouschet, 10% Petit Syrah, and minuscule amounts of Sangiovese, Carignane and other varieties we never knew existed and/or would probably mispronounce (e.g., Plavic Mali, Monbadon). “Field blend” means all the grape varieties are planted together and harvested at the same time. Rustic and earthy yet somewhat ethereal. Plush mouthfeel and smooth finish. We detect cinnamon on the nose; light tannins hit up front and give way to spice, pepper and oak. A Zin-based red blend for the non-Apothic Red crowd to really enjoy. – 91 pts
  • Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine | Charles Olken & Stephen Eliot | January 2016
    • The claimed goal of David Ramey’s Sidebar project is to make wines that are accessible, affordable and meant to be enjoyed as soon as they are released, and, if this nicely made red blend sourced from very old vines meets those criteria, it is no simple quaffer and shows a bit of serious intent. It is generously appointed with precise blackberry-like fruit and enriched by a judicious dose of sweet oak, but it is also firmly structured and youthfully tight in a way that says its best is several years off. – 90 pts

rhôneish, redwood valley –

  • Wine Enthusiast | Jim Gordon | March 2017
    • With an aroma like sweet vermouth and rich, chocolaty, smoky flavors, this Rhône-style blend exerts an exotic influence on the palate. The mouthfeel is smooth and graceful, with mild tannins, while the lingering finish echoes opulent fruit and spice notes. The winemaker used 48% Mourvèdre and lesser amounts of Grenache and Syrah. – 92 pts & Editor’s Choice

    The Planet Grape | Catherine Fallis | March 2016

    • Ripe, luscious and clean with notes of plum, blue and ollalie berry, stewed meats, and dark earth. Very gently chewy with soft gentle acidity. – 92 pts
  • Wine Review Online | Linda Murphy | December 2015
    • Young, densely planted vines above Lake Mendocino are the source of this Rhône-style blend of Mourvedre, Grenache and Syrah.  Lush, ripe red and black fruit, supple tannins, and hints of earth, leather, licorice and Asian spice make for an easy-drinking yet layered wine that finishes with a mouthwatering kick.  It’s from renowned Sonoma/Napa winemaker David Ramey, who employs his Sidebar label to explore underappreciated regions, vineyards and grape varieties in California. – 91 pts
  • The Corkscrewer Report | Ryan Koczara & Johannes Marlena | November 2015
    • Fruit sourced from the cool-climate Redwood Valley of Mendocino County make up this delightful red. Subtle sweetness with plum and violets that cascade over the palate, soft and plush—drawing allusions to voluptuous Chateauneuf or Gigondas. California wine with a French accent.  – 90 pts

2014 vintage

PDF of sidebar’s 2014 vintage reviews