Jean-Charles Boisset is determined to make Raymond a player in contemporary Napa Valley wine, dedicating his team to biodynamic farming and bringing a Folies-Bergère-meets-Dalí style to the winery’s tasting rooms. Boisset purchased Raymond in 2009 and hired Stephanie Putnam, late of Far Niente, as winemaker the following year. She now produces a range of 100 percent cabernet sauvignon “District” wines like this latest Rutherford release, a blend from the original Raymond estate on Zinfandel Lane and fruit from a vineyard in the western benchlands, allowed a long fermentation without added yeast. This vintage feels cool and elegant, shot through with brightness, as if the wine’s freshness were backlighting its red fruit purity. The wine isn’t heavy or grippy, but it completely fills its structure with luscious fruit, scents of roast mushrooms and dusty tannins that give it stature and staying power.
Restrained notes of tart red berry and pink grapefruit play on the nose of this wine. The palate is taut but has an appetizing touch of wet stone along with fresh, fruity notes and a mellow but bright autolytic core that creates a harmonious impression. Tiny bubbles fizz away beatifically, sure in the knowledge that they go straight to your heart. This is quietly convincing, just being its very elegant self.
There is almost something of the sea breeze in this wine. An alluring iodine hint on the nose mixes with notions of green apple and the merest touch of rhubarb. The palate comes in with a smooth, fine mousse of tiny, creamy bubbles that counterpoint the inherent English briskness. Slender and elegant, the palate gears everything to a fresh finish of green apple and lemon purity that lingers. It's harmonious, refreshing and balanced.